Skip to main content

Full text of "The Medford historical register"

See other formats


. Reynolds 



3 1833 01746 6332 





Medford Historical 

Vol. XXI, 191 8; /f^3 


Medford, Mass. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013  

J- C. MILLER, jr., pri NTer 



No. 1. 

Wreck of the "Living Age" 

" Old Shipping Days" 

When a Boy in Medford .... 

History Told by Names of Streets. Editor 

An Interesting Incident. Eliza M. Gill 

More Interesting Incidents. H. N. Ackerman 

After Twenty-five Years . 

The Usher Bridge. J. H. H. 

Those Other Medfords 

We'll not soon Forget It . 

An Appreciation . . . . 

Organization for 191S. 

Our Twentieth Volume 










No. 2. 

The Gray Mansion .... 
The Bob-tail Car .... 

The Grays of Salem and Medford. Eliza 
Medford on the Map. Editor 
Medford's Town Farm. M. W. M. 
Plan in Massachusetts Archives 
Medford not in It 
The Old Bob-tail Car 
Old Glory at the Top 

Medford Historical Society 
A Pleasure Trip. E. R. O. 

\ Frontispiece 

M. Gill . 25 



. . 46 

. . 4 S 



No. 3. 

Along the Mystic .... 

Why Mystic ? M. W. M. . 

Bridges over Mystic River. Illustration 

Why Aberjona? Sylvester Baxter 

E Pluribus Unum. Rev. John Pierpont 

Mystic Lakes. Illustration 

Medford Centennial Note. Editor . 

A Medford Novelty .... 

Our Illustrations .... 

Brook and Camera Club. Illustration 

Meeting-house Brook. Editor 





























, . 



No. 4. 

The Jonathan Porter House . . . Frontispiece 

A Medford Garden and Gardener's Notes. Eliza 

M. Gill 

Medford Horticulturists. E. M. G. 

An Early Tourist's Medford Home. E. M. G. 

An Old-time Medford Gardener. E. M. G. 

A Remembrance of the Old Bakery. E. M. G. 

Medford Committee of Public Safety. C. H. L. 

Connecting Link in Medford Church History 

M. W. M 

One Side of Medford Square. Editor 
The " Register" of Age 
Still Forward. Editor. 
Season 1917-191S. Editor 










. . 

. - 





i : . . 



: . id i > ' --. r . 

• . tee. 


I - ; 

M eater a. 

. • . . • 


; , t o '3 i ■ ... : 

... a % . ; . ..'- , .- s . ..-.-- 

■ - '- <. ' :\ 

■ : ■ - - 

! . : . . : : .■ 


lEC ■ [! i 

! 1 : *■ i «. I - - 


:ore Fronts*- Wood Mantels C? . ^ ■' "' /"| 

. ... ". f JL^V;\ w'Wl ^-5- 'V--/' ; - .-- 




■ . 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXI. JANUARY, 191S. No. 1 


IN Vol. XVI, p. 71, the Register has noted the last 
Medford-built ship, the Pilgrim. As none are now 
afloat it would be interesting to know of their style of 
build, kind, and time of service, and their final fate. The 
age of the Pilgrim was less than nineteen years. Her 
cargo, when wrecked, coal. All hands escaped. 

We have never seen any account of the fate of any 
other of the long list (567) of those built along the banks 
of the Mystic until within a few days of present writing, 
when there came to us the recent brochure of the State 
Street Trust Company of Boston, styled Old Shipping 
Days. In this we find the story of the wreck of the 
Living Age, which by the courtesy and permission of 
said Trust Company we present. 

In 1846 the Rev. A. R. Baker (then twelve years pastor 
of the Second, or First Trinitarian, Congregational 
Church)preached a sermononship-building,and appended 
a " register of vessels built in Medford," which then num- 
bered 359. Mr. Baker is certainly to be commended for 
his interest in Medford history and for his contribution 
to Medford annals. By the publication of the History 
of Medford, Mr. Brooks preserved this " register" and 
completed it to date, a total enumeration of 513. 

Thirty years later Mr. Usher alluded to the same and 
said it "is too extensive for admission here," but gave an 
abstract of the same, which shows the number built in 
each of the seven decades, 1803 to 1873, an d totals 567, 
483 in the first five, and 84 in the last two, decades. 
Thirty of these last were named in detail by Mr. Brooks. 
All Mr. Usher said relative to the other is, 

2 "OLD SHIPPING DAYSr [January, 

The last ship built in this town was launched from the ship 
yard of Mr. Joshua T. Foster in 1S73. 

He did not even give the name. Thus it appears (except 
in the above) there were 54 ships built in Medford, of 
which there is no record of name, owner, builder, style 
or tonnage, and that, too, in a history paid for liberally 
by the town, as well as by the purchasers. 

Referring to this " register " we find the first in enumera- 
tion of 1848, and 399th in order — 

Ship, Living -Age; ship yard, J. Stetson's ; builder, J. Stetson ; 
owner, E. D. Peters & Co., Boston; tonnage, 75S. 

Jotham Stetson's ship yard was just below the location 
of Winthrop bridge, and the last remains of wharf and 
piling were removed a few years ago in the dredging 
and park improvements. 

In May, 1855, the Living Age, then in other owner- 
ship, sailed from New York with a cargo of general mer- 
chandise for the Sandwich Islands. It was mid-winter 
in the Southern hemisphere, when for thirty days, with 
scant food and scurvy-smitten sailors, she was beating 
around Cape Horn. "One hundred and fifty-three long, 
hard days" elapsed ere anchor was cast at Honolulu, 
where her cargo was discharged. Thence she sailed in 
ballast for Shanghai, where she took on a cargo of tea 
and silk valued at $200,000. On December 25 she 
started on the homeward stretch of the voyage round 
the world, one destined not to be completed, but to end 
in disaster. 

The Living Age was then under command of Captain 
Holmes, and in all twenty-three persons were on board. 
They were captain and wife, three mates, and eighteen 
men and boys before the mast This crew were Ameri- 
can, English, a few Swedes, and one Italian, and are de- 
scribed as an excellent set of sailors. The cook was 

The northeast monsoon was a favoring wind, but the 
weather conditions and dense fog gave no opportunity 

1918.) "OLD SHIPPING DAYS." 3 

for taking observations. Only the heaving of the log at 
two-hour intervals gave any indication of speed, and the 
reckoning was necessarily inaccurate. Well realizing 
the danger, the captain picked his way carefully along, 
and for a time successfully. After four days second mate 
Hinckley was on deck in the early morning watch, and 
at four o'clock found they were still in the treacherous 
China Sea and near Pratas Shoal, which has been the 
graveyard of many a noble ship besides the Living Age. 
Here is the story he tells: — 

Day by day the Living Age nosed her way through the danger- 
ous shoals of the China Sea. At four in the morning of .the fifth 
day out Captain Hinckley, who was the watch on deck, realized 
that the ship was near Pratas Shoal. The course was changed to 
avoid it, but owing to the unreliability of the log line reckonings 
the ship did not pass the shoal as Captain Hinckley, who was keep- 
ing a sharp lookout, supposed she had done. He was confident 
that open sea was ahead. He peered through the fog, and saw 
ahead what appeared to be a breaker, although as the sea was heavy 
he was not sure but that it was the crest of a rising wave. A sud- 
den fear of great danger swept over him and he rushed forward to 
see if the lookout was on the alert. Just as he reached the main 
hatchway the Living Age, sinking in the hollow of a huge wave, 
struck bottom with a tremendous crash. Rising with the following 
sea, she floated and pushed on, but only for a brief moment. Then 
she settled again, crushing her bow against the rocks, and stuck 
fast. All hands rushed on deck. Instant destruction was looked 
for every minute, as the ship was being pounded terrifically by the 
mighty breakers. The crew turned to the boats, but before they 
could cut the lashings the sea tossed them like egg-shells out of 
sight, two on top of the forecastle and one on the davits being 
washed away. 

Thinking that he would have to swim for his life, Captain Hinck- 
ley rushed to his stateroom to take off the heavy underclothes he 
wore under his oilskins, with the shrieks of the panic-stricken crew 
rushing about on deck ringing in his ears. He found Mrs. Holmes, 
the captain's wife, sitting on his sea-chest, clad in her husband's 
pants and the mate's coat and vest. 

44 Have you a ditty box?" she asked Captain Hinckley. 

4 * Yes," said he, and handed her his own box from a shelf above 
his head. 

Mrs. Holmes, as calmly as if she had been in her own sitting- 
room, selected from the box needles and thread, which she carefully 

4 "OLD SHIPPING DAYSr [January, 

tucked away in the pockets of her coat. All the while the ship was 
lurching fearfully and pounding against the coral reef. 

41 You don't happen to have an extra hat? " asked Mrs. Holmes. 

Captain Hinckley handed her a Louis Kossuth hat, which had 
become famous after Kossuth's visit to this country. 

Taking a pair of scissors, she coolly and quickly cut off her hair 
close to her head, tried on the hat, and secured it under her chin 
with a tape fastened with safety pins. 

" There, don't I look like a boy? " she asked jokingly, and went 
calmly on deck in the midst of the uproar and confusion. 

Mrs. Holmes' manner was never other than brave throughout 
the fearful days that followed. Where men who had followed the 
sea for years were frightened, she herself showed no sign of fear, 
and her example did much towards restoring to order a panic- 
stricken crew. 

The men threw everything unnecessary for safety overboard to 
lighten the ship. The crew, officers, and Mrs. Holmes gathered 
in the topgallant forecastle, and a bed was made for Mrs. Holmes 
by placing boards from the breast-hook to a tar-barrel, and a sail 
was hung over the break of the forecastle to keep off the spray. 
The crew slept on the opposite side of the forecastle from the cap- 
tain and his wife. For thirty-five days they lived in this manner, 
each morning hoping that the signal of distress which they had 
hoisted would attract passing vessels, and each night doomed to 
disappointment. The ship's colors had been washed overboard, 
but the union jack remained. Captain Hinckley cut up in strips 
some red and white underflannels, sewed them together for stripes, 
and attached them to the union jack to form the colors. This 
hastily improvised banner they kept flying all day, union down. 
One or two vessels passed within their range, but failed to see their 

" While searching the hold for stores," says Captain Hinckley, 
"a barrel of English ale was found and divided among all hands. 
One man, however, managed to procure more than his share, and 
got very drunk. His antics during the day, and his urgence that 
the colors should be kept flying all night to attract the attention of 
passing vessels, gave us a hearty fit of laughter. In the search there 
was also found a music-box belonging to Mrs. Holmes, much in- 
jured by salt water, but with some music still left in it. This we 
kept playing constantly, for the music was superb in our ears, and 
we all took turns at winding it until its last mutilated and fragmen- 
tary tune had died away. In vain we tinkered with it. Its last 
note had fled, and we gave it a sailor's burial. " 

It was about the twentieth day on the wreck, that Mr. Baptistea, 
the French cook, gave notice. It had occurred to Mr. Baptistea that, 



by the laws of the sea, since he was wrecked and had received no 
wages he could not work. The officers said that if he would not 
cook for them they would buiid no raft for him, whereupon he set 
about building a raft of his own. He soon decided, however, that 
he would resume the cooking. 

A roughly constructed flat-bottomed boat was built, and Mr, 
Campbell, the chief officer, took a few men and started when the 
sea was smooth to inspect an island lying about ten miles distant. 
After nearly being driven out to sea by the changing wind the 
boat's crew succeeded in landing on the island, erected a pole bear- 
ing a distress signal, and stationed a lookout near it. One day they 
sighted a ship. She approached, hove to, and lowered a boat, but 
to the astonishment of the shipwrecked party the boat after nearing 
them turned about and returned to the strange ship, which then 
filled away and disappeared to the south. The men of the Living 
Age did not discover until they were rescued later that the reason 
for this strange action was that the ship had struck a shoal in ap- 
proaching them and punched a hole in her bottom, and that, fearing 
lest the five hundred Chinese coolies onboard whom she was carry- 
ing to California would in terror at her leaking condition seize the 
ship if he sent part of his crew away to rescue the shipwrecked 
party, the ship's captain had decided to make all sail for Manila 
for repairs and report the discovery of the crew of the Living Age. 

On the thirty-fifth day after the wreck, a Chinese sampan was 
sighted by the part of the ship's company which had remained on 
the Living Age and in it were Mr. Campbell and his men. The 
adventures of the crew were related, and on February 6 all hands 
left the Living Age and set sail for Pratas Island where they made 
themselves as comfortable as possible. 

"At last at dawn of February 25th," adds Captain Hinckley, 
'* I espied on the horizon a column of black smoke; a whaler or 
steamer it seemed to be. We hoisted all our signals and launched 
a boat to intercept her. To our unspeakable relief the spars and 
smokestack of a steamer loomed up, and she shortly after came to 
anchor near the shore, lowering her largest boat, the officer of 
which on hearing my story directed our boat to go aboard, while 
he went ashore for the remainder. The steamer was the Shanghai 
(English) from Manila, Captain Munroe, and in a short time we 
all stood without effects on a friendly deck." Thence they pro- 
ceeded to Hong Kong. For the rescue Captain Munroe received 
from President Fillmore a gold chronometer. 

We have had an interesting interview with Captain 
Hinckley, who though well nigh a nonagenarian, is still 
actively engaged in the insurance business in Boston, 


and who followed the seas for several years after the loss 
of the Living Age. His voyages were to St. John, N. B.; 
London; Antwerp; Gibraltar; Malaga; and to Batavia, 
Java, the latter with a cargo of ice for Frederick Tudor. 
It is somewhat remarkable that these were also made in 
four Medford-built vessels, the Cygnet, Horsbiirgk, Van- 
couver, and Josiah Qui?icy. The N. B. Pahner, in which 
he returned after the wreck of the Living Age was not 
here built. 

Captain Hinckley modestly disclaims the title, and says 
11 it was hard to say no to the offer of the ship owners of a 
captain's position, pay and 'privilege,'" having served thus 
temporarily in those his youthful days. But the title has 
clung and effort to shake it off has been unavailing. 

He tells us that the owners of the Living Age lost two 
other ships in that same fateful Pratas Shoal, and that 
remains of one there wrecked before the Living Age and 
another just after were there during their stay of thirty- 
five days ere their rescue therefrom. 

We deem ourselves fortunate in thus, after the lapse 
of sixty-three years, gaining this information from, and 
interview- with, one who can truly say "all of which I saw r 
and part of which I was "; also of being able to thus pre- 
serve the same, as we have many other incidents, by the 


There comes to us a bit of information relative to 
a boy's life in the Medford of nearly a century agone 
and worth noticing, from the autobiography of William 
Wilkins Warren, son of Isaac Warren of old Menotomy. 
By some change in family fortune William was placed 
in the care of his paternal grandfather, Amos Warren of 
Medford, at the age of six years, in 1820, and lived with 
him eight years. 

Amos Warren came from old Menotomy (then the 
west parish of Cambridge), now Arlington, in an early 


year of the century, and bought a small farm in the west- 
ern part of Medford on the side of a hill, with an orchard 
of fifteen acres, and lived there until his death in 183 1. 

It was doubtless the old home of the pious deacon 
John Whitmore on which the later residence of James M. 
Usher was built. Across the street was the old Buck- 
nam house, in recent years removed, making room for 
the West Medford post-office, and the cottage of Cap- 
tain Wyatt, which still remains as a reminder of those 
early days. The great Whitmore elm was then in its 
prime, and for sixty years thereafter. W'hitmore brook 
flowed through the Warren farm, but had not then ac- 
quired its modern habit of taking a summer vacation. 
Some rods to the west was the Middlesex canal, but 
no railroad was dreamed of when this boy came to his 
grandfather's to live. 

He described his grandparents as very pious, and kind 
and affectionate to him, his grandmother especially so. 
Because of old associations they worshipped in the old 
meeting-house at Menotomy, but when his mother (and 
sister) came to Medford and lived in the old Bucknam 
house, she was taken into the Medford church and all 
her children baptized by Dr. Osgood who was a friend 
and contemporary of her grandfather, Dr. Cummings of 
Billerica. Thereafter William's Sunday school days were 
divided between Menotomy and Medford, where such an 
institution was then something new. Miss Lucy Osgood 
directed it and Miss Elizabeth Brooks was his teacher. 
Another innovation in William Warren's boyhood was 
the first stove in the Medford meeting-house in the win- 
ter of 1820. As his mother did not come till two years 
later, chances are that he went to Menotomy with grand- 
sire Warren, and so did not witness the novel installation, 
and just here we are led to make some mental compari- 
sons of that time, less than a century ago, with the present 
fuel conservation that would close our churches, and the 
" cold and shivering air," we assume in a winter no more 
rigorous than in those times. 


Mr. Warren in his autobiography written in 1SS4, at " 
tributes to the influence of his grandparents whatever of 
religious characteristics he possessed. He was "ambitious 
to study and earn money " and was careful of his earnings 
made in various ways. "Sticking cards " was one of these. 
This would be a lost art to the youth of to-day, who know 
more of playing cards than of those more useful articles 
used in the textile industries of many New England homes 
of that time. This was the placing of many crooked bits 
of wire in a backing of perforated leather by slow process 
of manual labor, and which a few years later was super- 
seded by machine work in his native town. But this was 
a winter work. 

Like other New England farmers, Amos Warren be- 
lieved in the gospel of hard work, and so six months of 
the year W T illiam Wilkins became an "enthusiastic young 
farmer," and in the winter months attended the town 
school, primary and grammar he styles them. As there 
was no school then in the West End, he was a " Fag- 
ender " at the old one near the meeting-house. He says 
" I never identified myself with the Medford fighting-boys 
who were hostile to the Charlestown boys on the frozen 
Middlesex canal, and had many hard fights." The pas- 
sage of the boats through the lock and the alewife fishing 
on the river near by were more to his taste. 

Mr., afterward Dr., Furness and Luther Angier were 
his teachers in the town school. The latter recommended 
him, when twelve years old, to Medford Academy, as he 
styles Mr. John Angier's school, and for a time he was in 
Mr. Angier's family. While attending the town school 
he walked to Charlestown bridge, and alone, to see Lafay- 
ette and the great procession to the corner-stone laying 
at Bunker Hill, which was to him a most notable occa- 
sion. While at the academy he paid for his tuition by 
work in and about the place. 

During his stay in Medford, his grandsire Warren had 
as tenants in his house a Mr. Reed and family. He men- 
tions enjoying much the society of this family and their 


three pretty, intelligent daughters. One of these, Rebecca 
Theresa Reed is remembered by a story given to the press, 
prior to the disgraceful riot resulting in the destruction 
of the Ursuline convent at Charlestown. He probably 
little dreamed that his future wife would be the last sur- 
vivor of that conventual school. 

When fourteen years of age he left Mr. Angier's school 
to learn the printer's trade. He had read the life of Ben- 
jamin Franklin, which "inclined him to that mechanical 
art." The proprietor of the New England Farmer was 
a relative, and in his family he found kind friends and a 
happy home. But while attaining some proficiency in 
the "art preservative" he seems to have relinquished the 
mechanical part for other activities, and followed his em- 
ployers into that garden-seed business which still con- 
tinues in Boston. 

Of Mr. Warren's subsequent successful business life in 
the Danish West India Islands we need not here allude, 
only to say that he doubtless followed his old sea-captain 
friend's advice on starting thither, "Willie, my boy, always 
remember to look out for number one." He early ac- 
quired a competence, and retiring from active business, 
attended to the wise management of his affairs and in 
many positions of trust which have been noted in a for- 
mer issue of the Register. It is to his boyhood days 
and times we refer. In reading his autobiography, one 
is impressed with the worthwhileness of his early educa- 
tion in the Medford schools, both public and private, and 
the influence of the home of his grandparents that gave 
him a start in his business career. His interest in the 
life of Franklin read in his boyhood led him to secure 
(on opportunity) the old Ramage press, said to have been 
used by Franklin, for the Bostonian Society, in whose 
rooms in the Old State House it may be seen. May the 
many Medford schoolboys that throng our streets and 
schools with all the modern advantages, have as success- 
ful a career. 

10 [January, 


In Volume VII the Register noted the significance of 
the names of Med ford streets. In the thirteen years that 
have elapsed population has largely increased, vacant 
land been developed and estates divided. The new 
streets are so numerous as to require a directory and 
specific instruction for even an old resident to readily 
find them. 

The nomenclature of these is a matter of some interest, 
as a glance at the list shows. A little book, the result 
of recent private enterprise, is a handy City Guide to 
over five hundred streets, avenues, courts, places, roads, 
squares and terraces. By duplication of the latter the 
actual number of names is reduced just one hundred. 
Not all are public or accepted by the city, and thus a 
few names are duplicated. To a few a former name 
clings, while the newer or established name is also given. 

It would be interesting to know just why we have a 
" Sayso road " while the more pretentious name of Bowen 
avenue has official sanction. The title examiner finds 
difficulties in the many recorded plans and deeds where 
appear names that of necessity were changed on a street's 

This City Guide, for convenience, refers to Glenwood, 
Hillside, South Medford, Wellington and West Medford, 
which lay around the border and partially encircle the 
old Medford. 

In 1829 the selectmen named the ways radiating from 
the town pump (which seems to have been the hub of 
Medford), but prior to that time they were the " roads 
to " various places. 

The Register has told " how Medford began to grow." 
She has continued to, and has not yet " got her growth." 
Some enterprising speculator develops vacant land or 
divides an ancestral estate, gives it a name, lays out 
streets and assigns names of his own fancy to them. For 
instance, at South Medford the old road to Cambridge 


and its college was called Harvard street. By and by 
there was a half-mile race-track beside it, next a brick- 
yard, and after years of vacancy the place becomes Col- 
lege field, with Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Dartmouth, 
Princeton, Radcliffe and Yale, with Andover and Exeter 
beside. Along comes another, and across Buzzell's lane 
are the abandoned clay-pits of Buzzell's decadent brick 
industry, with a piece of upland on Main street extend- 
ing to College avenue, which name, of course, relates to 
Tufts college. The ash dumpage of Somerville comes 
into the clay-pits, Captain Adams' brick house is demol- 
ished, and College acres appears. 

Stanley and Frederick avenues connect Main street 
with College avenue and Windsor road with Hinsdale 
street. Of the significance of these names we are un- 
aware, as well as of Rhinecliff, the next in order. The 
only dale we see is the remains of the old clay-pit, and 
the only cliff the edge of the ever-increasing dump, but 
the slow trickle of Two-penny brook beside it isn't com- 
parable with the great German river. 

A lot of the sand of College field has migrated to the 
acres in the form of the concrete block foundations. 
Some store-building syndicate has erected its structure 
on Main street, and the Church Extension Society located 
on a strategic point the temporary chapel of St. John's 

Across the way, where once was Isaac Royall's farm- 
house, not many years since was the Mystic trotting park. 
Blocks of stores, garage and dwellings now line its new 
streets. These bear the names of former proprietors and 
turfmen — Wright, Willis, Bonner, Golden and Trott. 
Hicks avenue leads to the later Combination park and 
perpetuates its projector's name. Dexter street recalls 
a former owner, and in the corner of the city are another 
owner's children's names — Joseph, Lewis, Edward and 

Away back in 1845 Edward Hastings and Samuel 
Teel laid out the land on either side High street from 


the Woburn road to the Lowell railroad. A plan of the 
same has recently come to the Historical Society on 
which one reads, "offensive trades prohibited by inden- 
ture." The noble elms bordering those streets were also 
of the proprietors' foresight. The names they gave re- 
main today, save Lowell, which failed to displace the 
appropriate one of Canal, and there were Canal streets 
leading to the Middlesex canal in other towns also. 

Brooks street then extended from Irving to Woburn 
streets, but since to High and Winthrop. Doubtless it 
was named for Hon. Edward Brooks, as was the new 
schoolhouse erected beside it in 185 1. Cottage, prob- 
ably from the type of houses there erected ; Mystic, be- 
cause of its trend from Mystic mount (now Hastings 
heights), toward the river. Auburn, Allston, Irving and 
Prescott are sentimental, reflecting the cultivated and 
literary taste of Rev, John Pierpont and Charles Brooks. 

Woburn street was, of course, the old " Oborne rode " 
of the early days. Warren street extends through the old 
farm of Amos Warren, and the newer Wyman street 
through the old Wyman estate. Gleason street adjoins 
the Gleason school, both named for Hon. Daniel A. 
Gleason of the school committee. 

Madison street was one of the later streets, and prob- 
ably suggested by James Madison Usher, a namesake of 
President Madison. Usher road lies within the limits 
of his former estate, while Gorham, Clewley, Chardon 
and Wheelwright are those of relatives of the Brooks 
family, whose land they traverse. Century road was laid 
out in the closing year of the nineteenth century. Play- 
stead road is self-evident, as it borders the playground. 
Chandler road, because of Frank E. Chandler's owner- 
ship, and Woods Edge road is on the edge of the wooded 
hill. Laurel and Vernon are probably fanciful, as also 
Boylston terrace. Smith's and Hastings' lane and Whit- 
tle road were proprietary. Rock hill is also very truly 
named, and High street reaches its highest point near by. 

At the West End one looks in vain for Gorham and 


Lake parks as shown on Waiting's map of Medford, or 
some streets of old recorded plans. One of these, Win- 
throp, became Sharon by the town's acceptance. Medford 
already had a Winthrop street and several names were 
suggested for this new one, but that of their old home 
town, suggested by the Morse brothers, whose new home 
adjoined it, found most favor. Myrtle could not be dupli- 
cated, and E. W. Metcalf, an abutter and petitioner, sug- 
gested Jerome, in honor of Jerome Bonaparte Judkins, 
one of the land developers of 1870. He was the grand- 
father of the young soldier, Medford's first loss in the 
present war. Mr. Judkins gave the names of Temple 
and Tontine, Lincoln and Sherman to those streets. 
Holton street was laid out by Samuel S. Holton, Sr., to 
subdivide some large lots and provide a corner location 
for Trinity Church, and so given his name. As old Ship 
street had become Riverside avenue, a new name had to 
be found for the western one, which on acceptance be- 
came Arlington street. It is a long street, reaching 
nearly to Arlington line. 

In a subdivision of the older plan in 1870 two new 
streets were called Linden and Hawthorn, both grafted 
into Myrtle. As the latter was uprooted or transplanted 
as Jerome, so Linden got the name of a worthy resident, 
Fairfield. Only Hawthorn remains, and that only on 

Minot street of the old plan was laid out by the county 
commissioners as Boston avenue, and it had been better 
had a suggestion of eighty feet wide instead of sixty been 

Whatever suggested Monument is a query. Possibly 
Bunker Hill monument was then visible there over the 
rise of College hill (not now), as it was from Grove street 
near by. Mr. Brooks planted a grove in the " Delta " in 
1820; from this may have come the name given the old 
Cambridge road to Woburn, now Grove street. Bower 
(not Bowers) street was so called by Thomas P. Smith, 
land owner, for a Bower street where he had formerly 


lived, and which similarly got the name from a grove or 
bower of trees. Harvard avenue was the West Medford 
way to the college, as was Harvard street before men- 
tioned from South Medford. Circuit street is a cir- 
cuitous route from Bower, beside the railroad, and to 
Bower again. 

Within a few years a real estate trust has, on the 
Francis Brooks estate, opened Jackson, Woodland and 
Newton roads, Kilgore, Pitcher, Johnson and Tyler 
avenues (all names of the company), and has preserved 
the Brooks monument to Sagamore John at Sagamore 
avenue and place. Ravine road and Lakeview are thus 
appropriately named. 

In this article we have covered mainly the South and 
West Medford sections, with less than one hundred 
names. To mention the names, with why and wherefore, 
is merely to skim the surface of the subject. The recla- 
mation of waste places, construction of passable roads, 
with their arteries of water and gas, nerves of electricity, 
and intestinal sewers, has been a work of years of private 
enterprise and public cost. Still the work goes on, even 
though the town pump, the original radial center, is gone, 
unknown to the present and only remembered by the 
oldest inhabitants. 


Josiah G. Fuller of W 7 est Medford had the following 
experience during his participation in the 24th National 
Encampment of the G. A. R. at Boston, 1890: — 

" He was one of the little band of Abolitionists who 
went to Kansas in 1854 for the avowed purpose of free- 
ing that state from the blight of slavery. He passed 
through many thrilling experiences during the exciting 
days of ' Bleeding Kansas,' and two years later was cast 
into prison at Lecompton, as a result of refusing to assist 
in the enforcement of the fugitive slave law at Lawrence. 
One night, while in confinement at the court house, 
which served as a prison, six ruffians, who were playing 


cards in the room, learned that he was an 'Abolitionist 
preacher,' and hung him to the rafters. He was left for 
dead on the floor, but was awakened to consciousness 
by the kicks of his jailor. As one hanging was consid- 
ered sufficient, Mr. Fuller was allowed to depart, which 
he lost no time in doing. But he was heard from again 
as a Union soldier, and did good service during the war. 

"At the Encampment in Boston, Comrade Fuller re- 
ceived an invitation to join in the Grand Army delegates' 
excursion down the harbor; but he arrived at the wharf 
just as the steamer had left her moorings. Observing 
two colored men on the wharf, he approached them, and 
seeing by the brown button that they wore that they 
w r ere Grand Army boys, he engaged them in conversa- 
tion. What was Mr. Fuller's surprise when he learned 
that one of these comrades was an attendant at his 
church while preaching at Boonsville, Mo., in 1850, and 
also that the man was one of the slaves whom he helped 
to set free in 1862. The scene was a touching one as 
they indulged in reminiscences of the past, and will never 
be forgotten by the two veterans. Comrade Fuller is 
now seventy-three years of age, but notwithstanding his 
more than three score and ten years, he marched with 
his Post during the entire parade." 

The above account was thought worthy of insertion 
in the handsome souvenir volume of three hundred pages 
issued by the Executive Committee having charge of the 
arrangements for the Twenty-fourth National Encamp- 
ment of the Grand Army of the Republic, Boston, 
August 11 to 16, 1890. 

Mr. Fuller was born in Newport, N. H., November 28, 
181 7. He enlisted as a private September 4, 186 1, in 
the 1 st Kansas Battery, served three years and ten 
months, being discharged July 17, 1865. He lived for 
many years in West Medford, Mass., and married there, 
September 27, 1865, Sarah Hovey Barnes, who died 
November, 1895. He died January 1, 1899. He joined 
Post 66, G. A. R., June 10, 1884. E. M. G. 

16 [January, 


I remember hearing Mr. Fuller recount his Kansas 
experiences on several occasions. On one occasion, he 
was the substitute for the absent entertainers on a rainy 
evening at the monthly sociable of the First Trinitarian 
Church. Once when his funds were low, and his wood- 
pile was reduced to nothing, a load was left at his door, 
and on several occasions when he had no food, his needs 
were supplied from sources he could not have named as 
likely to make such provision, and in his own mind there 
was no doubt that these gifts were the direct answers to 
his prayers. Like John G. Paton, he was conscious of 
being providentially safeguarded. The Bibles and tracts 
he distributed were " seed corn," and by talking seeds 
and crops with the farmers, he secured their attention 
to his main object, and in many cases their co-operation. 

In Kansas he was a colporteur, sowing seeds for a 
spiritual harvest, and suffering with those who opposed 
the extension of slavery. In the Civil War he was a 
soldier fighting for freedom and equality. He was taken 
prisoner and was one of a hundred lined up for execution. 
Some of the group were able to give a sign of distress 
which adjourned the shooting, another providential es- 
cape for Josiah! After the war he was a distributer of 
revenue stamps for the commission allowed by the Gov- 
ernment. He said his business was "stamping about 

His marriage completed a double knot, as his sister 
was the wife of Henry S. Barnes, whose sister became 
Mr. Fuller's wife. 

When the First Trinitarian was merged with the 
Mystic Church he became a member of the West Med- 
ford Congregational Church, of whose meeting-house he 
was janitor for some years. During a severe illness his 
duties were performed by two members of the Parish 
Committee, who thus saved to his family his salary for 
several months. (One of the two was Robert A. Rogers, 
who passed away a few weeks since). 


I think it was in the summer of 1864, on a beautiful, 
but quite warm sabbath morning that I first saw Mr. 
Fuller. He was seated in the centre, fourth pew from 
the front of the meeting-house of the First Trinitarian 
Church, in the uniform of a Union soldier. He had ob- 
tained a furlough, and had arrived in town just in good 
time for church. He had either omitted to write about 
it, or had come more quickly than his letter, so his com- 
ing was unexpected. Flis sister was becoming anxious 
for him, not having received letters for several months. 
Arriving as the service was about to begin, she stood a 
full minute in the aisle, perplexed at seeing her soldier 
brother in the family pew. The surprise was complete, 
whether intended or not, and this is the most vivid recol- 
lection I have of Mr. Josiah G. Fuller. 

H. N. A. 


The gathering on Jan. 4 fi8) of fourteen members of 
Medford's first city government, with the auditor and 
collector who have served continuously, was surely a 
pleasant and notable occasion. That so many have sur- 
vived the stress of the years and enjoyed the reunion, is 
worthy of notice in Medford annals. They were Alder- 
men William Cushing Wait, Walter F. Cushing, Lewis 
H. Lovering and J. R. Teel, with Richard Gibson, E. C. 
Ellis, George T. Sampson, Herman L. Buss, William H. 
Casey, Allston H. Evans, N. E. Wilber, E. F. Kakas, 
Charles H. Loomis and E. I. Langell, of the council. As 
their former clerk Langell called the roll, fitting notice 
was taken of " Those who answer not, however we may 
call." Auditor Cummings and Collector Hayes were 
guests of the evening. After the dinner came the " smoke 
talk" with "everybody in it" and a final word by chair- 
man Loomis to close the "First Session." Judge Wait 
presided over the " Second Session " opening court (?) 
with words of greeting. Councilman Evans paid tribute 
to Medford by reading original verses: — 




There's a Medford in Wisconsin, 

And there 's also one in Maine, 
And in Maryland for Medford 

We do not look in vain. 

Even Oklahoma 

Boasts a Medford of her own, 
But about one in Arkansas 

Nothing here is known. 

In Minnesota and New Jersey, 

And in Oregon as well, 
Still we find the name of Medford, 

Still we find its mystic spell. 

The famous vintage "Medford" 
Is known from shore to shore, 

Carried in our Mystic ships 
In the good old days of yore. 

A city eighteen ninety-three, 

We started it on its way. 
At the end of a quarter of a century, 

We are here to celebrate the day. 

But there 's only one real Medford, 
Which in all ways can surpass 

All the many other Medfords, 

Here's a health to Medford, Mass. 

Alderman Cushing's subject was the " Board of '93", and 
the survivors have now no excuse for not making a record, 
as he presented each with an up-to-date fountain pen. 
Next Councilman Loomis read 


The passing years no halting know, 
But onward hold their even way ; 
No protest or regret from man 
Has any power to make them stay. 
So we who met in Ninety-Three 
With problems deep and hard to strive, 
Look back tonight on by-gone years, 
And count them, twenty-five. 


Those were the days of comrade's cheer, 
Of friendship's loyal, helpful aid; 
Tonight, all are not gathered here, 
We mourn the breaks the years have made, 
We span the time with kindly thought, 
While memories bright their radiance cast, 
And clearly from those distant days, 
Shine records of the past. 

But since those days what have we gained ? 
What civic lessons have we learned ? 
Increased in numbers, and in wealth, 
Have we " rewards of merit " earned ? 
Huge piles of brick and stone we've reared, 
Streets, boulevards and parks laid out ; 
But in the rush of rapid growth, 
Have ideals met their rout? 

In earlier days good-will prevailed, 
Forbearance toward each other ; 
Perchance we sometimes disagreed, 
We hailed each still as brother. 
We had no Aldermanic scraps, 
Nor mob-like Council Meetings, 
When angry members yelled and fumed, 
We believed in courteous greetings. 

But in these later restless days 
A change we note has come about, 
Some legislators seem to think 
To be impressive they must shout; 
And if a man should choose to vote 
Upon the side which they oppose, 
Make him a target for abuse, 
No decency he knows. 

In earlier days we had our fights, 
To win we did our very best. 
Whichever side the victor proved, 
With wishes good was promptly blessed. 
The winners reaped their earned rewards, 
The losers, glum, of course, might feel, 
But victors did not loudly boast, 
And losers did not " squeal." 

No public servant can succeed, 

If fiercely fought at every r step. 

Success, cooperation needs, 

With mutual work, and lots of " pep." 

20 THE USHER BRIDGE. [January, 

We can hot always think alike ; 
We can at least the game play fair, 
And if opponents come half-way, 
Let's treat them " on the square." 

Harsh judgments often are unjust, 
Distorted facts their poison spread, 
Much that is heard in politics 
Far better had been left unsaid. 
For oftentimes the loud-mouthed man 
Who leads in sinister attacks, 
Himself no public place could fill, 
He brains and courage lacks. 

So as we scan these later years, 
Regretfully we fail to see 
Wherein the quarter century passed 
Has gained us civic harmony. 
And as we ponder on this fact, 
With me, my comrades, you '11 agree, 
No better Council since has sat 
Than that of Ninety-Three. 

The ever versatile councilman from ward six made some 
observations upon his bailiwick, as only Wilber can do. 
Evidently this reunion was a sort of love-feast, and those 
present had no cause to be ashamed of their record in 
performing the new duties to which they were called in 
'93. If some successors did not as well, the lesson should 
come home to the voters who elect them. 

Usher bridge was named for James M. Usher. He 
was mainly instrumental in the laying out of the road 
from High street in Medford to Broadway in Arlington. 
I signed the petition to the county commissioners for the 
laying out of the road at Mr. Usher's request. It is that 
in Medford known as Harvard avenue. The abutments 
and central pier of the bridge were reinforced with con- 
crete when the river was deepened a few years since by 
the Metropolitan Commission. 

J. H. H. 

1918.] 21 


The verses found elsewhere in this issue bring to mind 
the effort made by the Register a few years since, to fur- 
nish some reliable information of the other Medfords of 
our country (see Vol. XVI I, p. 99). We had then secured 
a portion, but being under prospect of discontinuance, 
could not well pursue inquiry of the eight then unheard 
from. There were then fourteen in all. At this later 
date, former councilman Evans seems to have no better 
success with Arkansas, than did the Register. Just now 
we are wondering what the " Nathaniel Medford Club " 
organized in Pittsburg in 1864 was, and whether Medford 
enterprise (or spirit) was operative in the smoky city fifty- 
four years ago. We find the same mentioned in one of 
our recent exchanges. Who knows anything about it ? 


The passing winter has been one to be remembered in 
various ways, especially the fuel shortage. The sight of 
numerous children, with some women, and a few men 
dragging homeward their allotted hundred pounds, is 
something new in Medford. The inclement days and 
icy streets made conditions bad enough, but the stuff they 
got was deficient in heating quality, containing a large 
per cent of non-burnable refuse. The cost of railway ser- 
vice to haul from the mines, the woman and child power 
to haul home, and the certain per cent of the energy of 
"the real coal to heat somewhat this refuse in the effort 
to burn, contribute to waste rather than conservation, of 
which so much is now being said and written. Even the 
ash men of the city have found an increase in their labor 
in carting the waste to the city dumps. It would be well 
if the political economists would investigate, whether or 
no the "dear public " haven't paid for a lot of former years' 
waste in this season's " run of mine coal," in which house- 
holders find double the former waste. 

22 AN APPRECIA TION. [January, 

The complex weather conditions that first made icy the 
streets, and later light snow fall, lightened, the children's 
labors a little in the use of their sleds, but when in a day 
almost everywhere the bare ground appeared, the boys 
were unprepared with wheels. Their tug and pull was 
pitiful to see. But the Medford boys (and girls too) are 
plucky, and inventive as well, as some of their impro- 
vised coal carts are witness. Once the coveted coal card 
secured from the fuel office, the procession moved on. 

And then the water troubles. Sunday morning, De- 
cember 30, the city woke to trouble ; mercury eighteen 
degrees below zero, and henceforward plumbers, water 
department men, and electric men were in constant de- 
mand to thaw and mend, only to thaw and mend again. 
It was no -uncommon sight, that of coal or coke fires 
across sidewalks over night, that the pick and shovel 
men might dig down next day to a depth never known 
to freeze before. In suffering the attendant discomforts 
we have learned how dependent we have become upon 
modern improvements, and for a time were worse off 
than our grandfathers. 

In the organization of the Society for 19 18 the reader 
will miss the name of Eliza M. Gill, who has faithfully 
served for several years as Secretary. Because of im- 
paired health, she is obliged to give up her walling ser- 
vice, but not her interest. One of the original corporators, 
she has ever been in labors abundant, both as an officer 
and interested active member, keeping in touch with 
historic interests elsewhere, as well as in Medford. The 
papers she has read before the Society show careful study 
of her subjects, and are supplemented by other articles 
in the Register, and not a little of material has been 
furnished by her to aid other writers. To the Register 
she has ever been devoted, and its editor acknowledges 
her many favors and assistance. We are hoping for her 
rest and recovery ere long. 

1918.] 23 


The organization of the Historical Society for the cur- 
rent year is herewith presented. A copy is sent to each 
member with the notice of the March meeting, and will 
serve as notice of appointment of committees as a whole 
and individually, by the Board of Directors. 

The first named is expected to see that each committee 
promptly begins its work for the Society interests. 

The Society is now housed in permanent quarters, con- 
veniently located, and after the inconveniences of recent 
years should take up with interest its important work. 
Will each member of these committees readily report to 
its chairman, and each committee have a friendly rivalry 
with each other, and so boom our Society this year. 

Some surprise has been expressed that the Society 
should assemble for its meeting on the heatless Monday 
evenings called for by the fuel administrator. Our reply 
is, that as an educational institution, and patriotic withal, 
we bestconserve our resources — fuel and light included — 
by attending to " business as usual," and at the regularly 
appointed times, at no excessive expense. 

On three occasions there has been the new and inter- 
esting feature of instrumental and vocal music, which 
will be continued. Light refreshments on two occasions 
have added to the social interest, and not materially 
depleted the treasury or caused any non-observance of 
meatless, wheatless, or eatless days. 

It is the desire and intention of the Society, through 
its Directorate, to fulfill its mission in our good old city 
of Medford. To this end it asks the co-operation of all 
its membership, both present and prospective. 

Don't forget to patronize our advertisers of this issue, 
and as occasion offers, invite them to our meetings, to 
enjoy their interesting features helpful to Medford 

24 [January, 1918. 


The October issue of the Register completed two 
decades of service in the preservation of Medford annals. 
It has put into permanent form for reference many of the 
interesting papers that have been prepared for and read 
before the Historical Society,\vhich assumes its publication 
and gathered up very many local incidents and features 
of interest that otherwise would have been lost. All 
these can be safely drawn upon by such as shall some- 
time write an adequate history of our city. Exclusive 
of title and index, its pages now number 2140 of superior 

It has always been a labor of love by its contributors 
and editors, and no inconsiderable draft on the Society's 
treasury. Other historical works our town and city have 
three times assisted financially, but the Register has been 
maintained by its own and the Historical Society's efforts. 
The text-book used in our public schools has drawn 
largely upon it for facts, and was carefully examined by 
the Register editor before its introduction. 

We bespeak for the coming issue a more lively interest 
and larger circulation, and call attention to the fact that 
a limited number of full sets may yet be procured which 
contain a wealth of information nowhere else to be found 
regarding our city. 

Few historical societies can show a longer^or better 
record in publication. If as far as possible, members 
become subscribers, and by individual work add thereto, 
a better future awaits our effort. 

T K 








- ■•v:.-.. f\ 


a -t^sa 


[Courtesy HaMiday Photograph Co., Boston. 


The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXI. APRIL, 1918. No. 2. 




IF Lynn feels that she was honored by having been 
the birthplace of William Gray, and Salem and Boston 
deem themselves favored by having been his places of 
residence for many years, Medford should be glad to 
be able to add the name of the famous ship merchant, 
often called Billy Gray, to her list of distinguished guests 
and residents, though he was here but a short time. 
(Register, Vol. XVI, No. i.) 

The papers of this merchant, who owned more ships 
than any one in the country, were destroyed in the great 
Boston fire, 1872, but there is a letter written by Mrs. 
Gray from Medford, in which she mentions being " in 
the country." 

The family is supposed to have been here several 
summers; is known to have been one at a place called 
" The Chimneys," which our historians have failed to 

Horace, the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Gray, was 
born in Medford, August 25, 1800, and baptized six days 
later. He became a merchant in Boston, and the city is 
indebted to him primarily for the formation of its fine 
Public Garden. A son of his, also named Horace, gave 
honor to the family name as chief justice of the Supreme 
Judicial Court of Massachusetts and justice of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. 

There are several reasons to account for the Grays 
being here, relationship for one, as Mrs. Gray was the 



daughter of John Chipman and Elizabeth (Brown) Chip- 
man of Marblehead, the latter's sister, Abigail Brown, 
being the wife of Rev. Edward Brooks of Medford. 

At that time our town was a small one, with a popu- 
lation of eleven hundred. There were not many houses 
on the Woburn road (our present High street) between 
the market place and Meeting-house brook. Most of 
them had wide spaces of land around and between them, 
with an open view across the river. Save for a few build- 
ings close to the market place on the east, there were 
still fewer houses along the Salem road. 

Ship building had not begun; there was no local stage; 
only one long-distance one passed through the place ;* 
there was no town house; but one meeting-house, and one 
schoolhouse. Sea captains and Boston merchants found 
it a good residential place for the summer. Several who 
came for a short time became permanent residents. 

Salem was a thriving town, a w r ell-known port with a 
large East India commerce ; a place of many large and 
beautiful colonial houses, and of such business activity 
that perhaps the quiet of our town, and its nearness to 
Boston, drew this merchant and his family here for a few 
weeks. It was said of Medford as late as 1853, "It was 
a quiet, restful place, withal, excepting in the ship-yards." 
Possibly the strongest reason that drew them was to be 
near their daughter Lucia, twelve years old, who was a 
pupil at Mrs. Susanna Rowson's celebrated private school. 

If class prophecies were then in order, and it had been 
foretold that Lucia Gray would have a daughter who 
would live beyond a century's mark, and a granddaughter 
who would be well known in the world of art and letters, 
it might have seemed like a wild flight of fancy, but it 
would have run parallel with the true course of events. 
A daughter of this little Medford school girl married 
Francis Alexander, a native of Connecticut. He was an 
artist, who settled first in Boston, then in Florence, Italy, 

* Medford was on the stage line called the upper route to Exeter and 


where the daughter, Francesca, was born. She inherited 
artistic taste and was endowed with poetic gifts. She 
became well known as an author and illustrator, and Rus- 
kin, who was a friend of mother and daughter, thought 
very highly of this talented American girl. Francesca 
died in February, 191 7. 

Another granddaughter of Lucia Gray, Mrs. Edward 
N. Hallowell, for many years a resident of West Med- 
ford, visited Mrs. Alexander in Florence on the occasion 
of the latter's one hundredth anniversary of her birth, 
and found her aunt M as bright as a woman of fifty." 

Other Facts of Interest Connect Billy Gray with 


February 27, 1801, he bought of Rev. Jedidiah Morse 
of Charlestown the property known to three generations 
of our townsmen as the Train estate. The dwelling- 
house has been taken down within two years. When 
William Gray purchased this estate it contained two 
acres, more or less, was bounded southerly on the coun- 
try road, easterly on land of Abigail Tarbett, northerly 
on land of John Bishop, and westerly on land of David 
Buckman. An old building on the lot was bought by 
Samuel Swan and removed. 

May 29, 1806, William Gray sold this property to James 
Gilchrist, who lived here many years. He was a sea cap- 
tain, sailing from Salem and Boston, engaged in trade 
with China and the East Indies. As there is no one of 
that name listed in the Boston Directory of 18 10, it is 
not unsafe to assume that the Captain Gilchrist who was 
master of Gray's brig, the Caravan, that year was the 
same as Capt. James Gilchrist of this town. 

Joseph Swan (1 784-1 853), our townsman, was edu- 
cated in William Gray's counting-room, and the church 
formed by those who withdrew from the First Parish 
received a gift of a thousand dollars from the philan- 
thropic merchant, with which they purchased the site on 
High street on which they erected a house of worship. 


It was burned in 1S60 and a second building was erected 
on the same spot. After serving both Protestants and 
Roman Catholics, the steeple was removed, the interior 
and exterior were altered, and today it is the hardware 
store of Page & Curtin, for whom the changes were made. 

William R. Gray, oldest child of William, must have 
spent some time here with his family, as our records 
note the baptism of a daughter, October 10, 1819, and a 
son, August 5, 1821. 

A relative of the writer (whose life, beginning in the 
last decade of the eighteenth century, extended over 
more than three-quarters of the nineteenth), a resident 
of Boston, knew it well, and used to tell of seeing it grow 
from a town into a city, of cows being pastured south of 
Summer street, and of Billy Gray's mansion on that 

Samuel Gray of Salem married first Anna Orne of 
Marblehead, by whom he had six children. He married 
a second time, at Medford, April 25, 1799, Mary, daugh- 
ter of Rev. Edward Brooks and Abigail (Brown) Brooks. 
There were seven children by this marriage. It was 
natural, then, that he should finally settle in Medford. 

Before the erection of the Angier-Boynton house, 
about seventy- five years ago, the house next below Dr. 
Osgood's was that of Isaac Warren, on the site of the 
one now west of the Public Library. Isaac Warren was 
made deacon of the church, 1767. His son, also named 
Isaac, inherited the so-called mansion and lived there. 
A later tenant was Dr. Luther Stearns, who, when the 
place was sold to Samuel Gray, moved to the vicinity of 
what was later the Medford turnpike, and opened his 
academy. The Warren house was moved to a lot on the 
Woburn road (High street) further west and the Gray 
family lived in it until the new house was built, 1802 or 
1803, on the site of the old one. The house built by 
Samuel Gray is still standing just west of the Public 
Library. The old house became the home of the. Roach* 
* See Register, Vol. XI, p. 47. 



family, respectable people, notwithstanding their pecu- 
liar name, and the remains of the cellar can be seen east 
of Grace Church parsonage. 

Though information at hand from two sources states 
the purchase of the land was 1802 and the erection of 
the house 1S02 or 1S03, and the church recorded the 
baptism of a child in 1806 and one in 181 1, yet Samuel 
Gray is not listed as a resident tax payer till 181 1. From 
1805 (records missing 1803 and 1804) till 181 1 he is 
classed as non-resident, also non-resident in 18 13, resi- 
dent in 18 14 and 181 5. The diary of Rev. William 
Bently states Mr. Gray moved to Medford 181 1. 

Samuel Gray died January 21, 18 16, aged fifty-six. 
His wife, Mary, died January 30, 1842, aged seventy- 
three. They were buried in the family tomb bearing his 
name in the old Salem street burying ground. It is in 
the northwest corner, extending under the passageway 
which in our youth was called Deadman's alley. On the 
plan accompanying Dr. Swan's thesis, 1803, it is marked 
Burying Yard Lane. So distinctive a name as Deadman's 
alley would, in London, draw hundreds of visitors to it 
yearly. Its official name is River street. 

The new home of the Grays must have been the scene 
of many festivities, for there were nine daughters in the 
family, and the marriages of seven are found on our 
records. Two became brides of men of their home town. 
Anna married Andrew Hall, April 9, 1815; Catherine 
(1797-1874) married Jonathan Porter (1791-1859), July 
22, 1823. She is represented here today by two great- 
grandchildren, one a recent war bride. 

Sarah Charlotte, born 1808, married, December 23, 
1828, Ignatius Sargent of Boston, where she died, 1831. 
Her sister Henrietta (1811-1891) became the second 
wife of Mr. Sargent, May 7, 1835. In 1842 the heirs of 
Samuel Gray sold the homestead to Mr. Sargent and it 
became the residence of his family for a few years, until 
he moved to Brookline. The youngest child of three in 
his family today recalls the pleasure he had picking up 


the seeds of the horse-chestnuts and storing them in the 
attic. " The child is father to the man," and perhaps the 
lad acquired in this place the love for trees that has made 
his name known throughout the world as the able pro- 
fessor of horticulture and arboriculture, the director of 
the Botanic Garden of Harvard University, Charles 
Sprague Sargent, a man of many honors, one of the latest 
having been noticed in the Outlook, August 22, 191 7. 

In 1S50 Francis A. Gray, youngest child of Samuel 
and Mary, bought the property of the S argents. He 
was born in this house October 5, 18 13, and died there, 
December, 1888. He married Helen Wyckoff Wain- 
wright of New York, 1857, who died September 12, 1S95. 
They had two children, who married and left Medford — 
Mary, now a widow, living in Paris, France, and Francis 
A. Gray, with wife and two children, living in Evanston, 
Wyoming. One of these children was born in Medford. 

In 1892 the property passed to strangers, having been 
owned until then, from the time the house was built, by 
descendants of Samuel Gray. 

In the elder days of Art 

Builders wrought with greatest care 

and in commonplace things those who erected houses 
and made furniture did their work with a conscientious- 
ness and thoroughness that shames much that is modern. 
So today the house of Samuel Gray, having weathered 
more than a hundred years, stands as a monument to the 
excellent workmanship of those who constructed it. It 
is said to be a copy of a colonial house in Salem, con- 
structed by a builder from that town assisted by carpen- 
ters from the ship-yards. The rooms are lathed and 
plastered and boarded up on each side. Some of the 
beams are so large and hard they could not be cut 
through when later occupants put in a furnace. The 
main part has two stories, the ell three, making a curious 
arrangement of staircases. The roofs are on a level, 
though the ell is built on land lower than the main part 


and you step down two or three steps from the latter to 
reach the rooms of the ell. There are many rooms, all 
the old ones having fire-places, for to the original build- 
ing rooms have been added in the ell on two stones to 
include modern conveniences. 

The plain exterior gives no hint of the charm of the 
interior. The house faces nearly south, with an entrance 
of generous proportions in the middle. On each side of 
the hall are large square rooms on both stories, in each 
of which are four large shuttered windows. The hall is 
particularly interesting, wide and high, ending at the 
second story in a rounded or domed ceiling. At the 
back it is part of an ellipse, with a door on each story of 
peculiar construction, being curved. The work was so 
well done that there has never been any warping and 
they close perfectly. The staircase is wide, long and 
curving, of easy ascent. The hand-rail is mahogany, the 
balusters are simple square uprights, making a light, 
graceful effect. 

On the first floor, back of the northeast room, is a 
small one once a butlers pantry. From this a passage- 
way leads to a small but wide, high, well-lighted hall, 
giving an entrance on the west. This is a fine piece of 
work. At the back of this hall, its east side, the back 
stairs come down to meet the front hall, which is wholly 
shut off from the small one. The east part of this small 
hall is a fine arch, and here, and in other parts of the 
house, is some fine but simple ornamental woodwork. 

Later owners have made minor changes here that 
have not substantially altered the plan. The integrity 
of the old-fashioned mansion is maintained, and no evi- 
dence is visible to the casual observer of altered con- 
struction. The external appearance of the house is the 
same today as when built. The entrance door of the 
small hall has side and top lights, the former with long, 
narrow hinged shutters. The north wall of the butler's 
pantry and of the little hall was the limit of the main 
part of the house, and from the pantry a door led outside. 


The fire-place of the original kitchen, occupying the 
western side of the ell, was of the generous proportions 
of the old days, and the porch door and an inner one 
here, now enclosed, form a closet. 

A high board fence along the front of the estate 
screened it from view. There was no gate or walk to 
the front door, the entrance being by the carriage way 
at the west, and the place had a secluded, quiet air. The 
stable was removed and the front fence taken down about 
twenty years ago. The settles on the porch are modern 
additions. Across the street was an open lot, used as a 
garden by the Grays, where now stands St. Joseph's 

Note. — Since writing the above we have learned that "Gilchrist took 
over a house formerly occupied by \V. R. Gray.' ' Captain Gilchrist moved 
from the house he bought of William Gray to the Parson Turell house, then 
back to the former house, which his wife preferred. So in one of these houses 
William R. Gray resided the seasons he spent in Medford. 


We often hear the words " on the map " as expressive 
of publicity or wide-awakeness. Appropriate in its way, 
for the town or hamlet not shown on some map must be 
small indeed. Our caption, however, must be taken liter- 
ally. In the early days of the Medford Historical Society, 
President Wait prepared and read a valuable paper on 
Maps of Medford (Register, Vol. I, p. 119) in which are 
reproductions, necessarily small, of six maps showing 
Medford's area as a whole or in part. The latest Med- 
ford map thus alluded to was that of 1855, by H. F. Wai- 
ling, and to this is a half page devoted in Brooks' history 
of the same year, which says, " The map is accompanied 
by eleven other maps or sections, on a scale of tw r o hun- 
dred feet to an inch, on sheets of twenty-six to thirty- 
nine inches, and all bound together in an atlas." Diligent 
inquiry fails to discover such atlas, or any one that has 
memory of it* At the time of the proposed division of 

* As both history and map were published at nearly the same time and by 
separate interest, it is probable that the reference to "eleven sections" was 
made from some prospectus, rather than actual issue. 

1918.] MEDFORD ON THE MAP. 33 

the town some printed reproductions (14? x 15^ inches 
in size), with six quarter-mile circles around Meclford 
square (showing marshland in yellow, woodland in green, 
and boundary lines in red) were made for reference at 
the legislative hearings. Two of these are framed and 
are in the Society's collection. A later and finer re- 
production of this map (17^ x \Z\ inches), on fine white 
paper, shows the new boundary, made by the transfer to 
Maiden of a strip of Medford of about a fifth of a mile 
on Salem street. This was issued just as Medford be- 
came a city, as it shows no ward divisions. Various 
maps prepared by the city engineers, showing the water 
and sewer systems, have been included in the printed 
city reports. 

The latest we notice is that of Engineer Charnock, 
January 1, 19 16. This shows the ward and precinct 
lines, and such streets in Maiden, Somerville and Arling- 
ton as cross or are near boundaries. Judge Wait alluded 
to twenty-two plans of various localities in Medford that 
were recorded in Middlesex (South) Registry between 
1827 and 1855. One of these (August, 1850) in Plan 
Book 5, p. 8, he styles very interesting. It is called 
"Land of Brooks," at West Medford.* It shows the 
entire tract between High street, the B. & L. R. R. and 
the river, with the Middlesex canal and its lock, aqueduct 
and tavern. Practically the same layout is shown on the 
Walling map of 1855, but without the names of streets, 
though the names of Gorham and Lake parks are given. 
This plan was made in the last days of the canal's opera- 
tion, which had ceased when the Walling map was made. 
In the records of the canal company is an allusion by its 
agent to a company of gentlemen who had laid out this 
adjoining territory into house-lots, which they called 
Brooklands, and a suggestion that the canal's property 
there might be disposed of to the proprietors of " Brook- 
lands." In the closing of the canal's affairs this strip 
with a portion beyond the river, was sold to J. M. Usher 

♦See Register, Vol. I, p. 126. 


Of those park names Gorham was a family name (of 
Brooks), while Lake was appropriate, as a miniature lake 
or pond was shown therein. Conditions favored the 
same, as the writer has seen the springy ground there 
covered with flags and cat-tails. 

In Plan Book 8, Plan /, 1855, is the same territory 
(see Register, Vol. I, p. 126), being the " Fuller Plan of 
Smith Estate." Here we must " good naturedly " differ 
a little with His Honor, who styles it " the present laying 

Fuller's plan was made in early '50s, but little or no 
use was made of it until 1870, when, on June 21, there 
was a land sale on the premises. In 1865 the conduit 
of the Charlestown water works was built across this 
entire tract. The Fuller plan (which omitted the "parks" 
and had a somewhat different arrangement of streets) 
was modified somewhat. Two new plans were later 
made by Josiah Hovey covering the entire river border, 
or half the area of " Brooklands," which name had been 
forgotten. Then the county commissioners came and 
laid out Boston avenue, as they had previously done 
with Harvard avenue. Therein lies an explanation of 
the hopeless tangle of lines intersected by the fifth and 
sixth circles on the plan formerly alluded to. But the 
subdivision did not end with these, as conveyancers find 
sometimes to their dismay, for numerous other smaller 
plans are duly recorded, but not all in this section. 

Who knows where Emperor street is ? If any one 
now should make "a laying out with royal names " he 
might lay himself open to criticism. But in 1855, Plan 
Book y, p. 33, is " old road now called Emperor street." 
Book <?, p. 26, is a "rough form " of the same by Daniel 
Ayer, of whom an old resident says, " He had a faculty 
of developing all sorts of odd places." The old school- 
master, Aaron K. Hathaway, made the finished and 
earlier recorded plan. One house was erected on this 
royal layout ; is now, and has been for sixty years, the 
farthest removed from neighbors of any in Medford. 

1918.] MEDFORD OX THE MAP. 35 

Emperor street is part of the old lane or wood road lead- 
ing from Winthrop street by the old railroad cut in 
Sugar-loaf hill. After crossing the west branch of meeting- 
house brook it turns sharply to the left at the foot of a 
hill on which are the other royalties — King, Queen, and 
Prince. Emperor was the equivalent of Kaiser sixty- 
three years ago, but the modern Kaiser will find no place 
on Medford's modern map. 

On the Walling map, midway between the almshouse 
and Oak Grove Cemetery, is shown the " Meridian Monu- 
ment, Harvard University," due north from the observa- 
tory at Cambridge. This was torn down four years ago 
(Register, Vol. XVII, p. 23). In the second number of 
Vol. XVI may be found a view and description of same ; 
also in an earlier issue of the Medford Mercury. 

In the reports of Metropolitan Park Commission are 
maps showing its various takings in Medford along the 
river and in the rocky woodland of the Fells. On the 
latter, various localities like "old silver ?nine" and others 
are shown, but we look in vain thereon for the "Old Man 
of the Fells" (Register, Vol. XV, frontispiece). 

To the Water Department report (1893) is attached 
a map of the vicinity of Wright's pond. We thought we 
saw on this, at the proper location, the words Indian 
Profile, but a reading glass only showed the same to be 
but topographical shading marks. Later reports contain 
half-tones, snowing the dam and water tower in construc- 
tion ; and on page 200 of Medford Reports, 1898, is a fine 
view of the completed works, which were for a time the 
high service of Medford's water system, now a thing of 
the past and partially removed. 

The town records show that as long ago as 1738 a map 
of Medford was suggested, and by vote left to the discre- 
tion of a committee, but nothing came of it. Had there 
been one made then, it would have been of equal interest, 
and practically contemporary with the Usher plan of the 
Royall estate across the river, then in Charlestown. The 
vote of the town (July 19, 1738) was that 

X' 690321 


the affier of plan of Medford and the land voted to petition for 
should be left to y e Discretion of the Committee the Town have 
Imployed in that affaier to act therein as they shall jndg most for 
the Towns interest. 

Medford had two years before petitioned for a thousand 
acres of province land and employed a surveyor to lay 
out the same. A "plat" and description thereof was 
required and was returned to the General Court in 1736. 
The grant of December 29 received the signature of 
Governor Belcher on January 1, 1736-7 (see Massachu- 
setts Archives, also elsewhere in this issue). There being 
no legislation requiring it, that committee probably con- 
sidered the " plan of Medford " as unnecessary. 

In 189S there was published by G. W. Stadly & Co. 
an Atlas of Medford, consisting of twenty-one double 
pages. Upon one of these is the Tufts map of 1794 and 
the reprint of the Walling map we have alluded to. The 
first plate shows the entire territory of the city in colors, 
and has Arabic numerals in each shade referring to the 
succeeding sectional plates, while the various wards are 
designated by Roman. A peculiar feature is the section 
above the Fellsway, then called " Osgood Heights," with 
its winding streets, thus necessary because of the local 
elevation and contour. These sections indicate all then 
existing houses. 

The Atlas of Boundaries, 1898 (see Register, Vol. 
XVIII, p. 90), beside the map, is devoted to description 
of the boundary lines, and contains half-tone cuts of all 
the thirty monuments that mark the corners of Medford. 

Thus far we have mentioned the maps and plans that 
ordinarily come under observation. A visit to the office 
of the city engineer reveals Medford on the map in closer 
detail. Twenty-eight sheets (5x8 feet leonine paper 
mounted upon cloth) are covered with accurate drawing 
on the scale of forty feet to the inch, showing the shape 
and location of every building on its lot, and the property 
divisions of each owner in the inhabited portions of the 
city. The brooks and natural water courses are shown, 


also the stone walls and fences standing at the time of 
survey, 1S93-99. Besides, there are the water-mains, 
sewers and curb-stones. In fact, little has escaped notice, 
and these surveys are revised every year, showing all 
alterations or additions made. Thus Medford is on the 
map up to date. ________ 


This title does not refer to the present " City Home," 
nor yet to the tract invaded by the pioneer railroad of 
1835, but refers to a broader domain of a thousand acres 
which Medford obtained in province days "when we were 
under the king." The more recent and present town 
farms have been for the housing and use of the town's 
poor, zvithin the town limits; this one was gotten for 
the purpose of enabling the ancient Medfordites to main- 
tain the ministry and school master. Mr. Brooks, in his 
history, makes brief mention of its grant, and says, " It 
was not of great value," and " It was sold soon after." 
He also located it on the Piscataqua river, which stream 
is one of the principal rivers of New Hampshire, reach- 
ing the ocean at Portsmouth. 

What is the story of this Medford " Town Farm " ? In 
the " Archives " at the State House may be found a plan 
of the same, made by a Medford man, with his accom- 
panying description and certificate, as follows: — 

By virtue of a Grant made by the Great & General Court to 
y e town of Medford I the subscriber have surveyed and Laid out 
with the assistance of Lt John Goffe and Mr. Ephraim Bushnall 
Chanemen one Thousand acres of Land in the following manner 
viz. bounded southerly by a tract of Land Laid out to the grantees of 
y e town Whys* called by the name of Olid Harrys town Westerly 
by Province Land northerly and Easterly by Pefcataquogg River 
the lines beginning att a pitch pine tree on the bank of Sd River 
(about two miles west of Merrimack River) markt M F then run- 
ning due West by y e needle with a line of markt trees 693 perch 
then turning No 15 Degrees E to a Maple tree standing on the bank 
of the aforsd Pefcataquogg River markt M F 400 perch then turn- 
ing and running with sd Pescataquogg River until it come to y e 

* Which is. 


pitch pine first mentioned, which plan is Protracted by a scale of 
So poles or perch to one inch 
June the 16 1736 
By me Caleb Brooks G Survey 1 - 

In surveying this farm there was Given one Chain in fifty for Broken 
Land and Sagg of Chain 

Middlesex June iS 1736 

Personally appearing be fore me the Subscriber Calap Brooks 
Survayor John Goff and Ephra m Busnall Chanmen mad oath that 
in the Survayin and meafuring a thousand acrs of Land Granted by 
Gener Cout to the Town of Medford thay did dewe faithfoully and 

Eleazar Tyng 

just Peace 

On file with the plan and the above is the following : — 

In the House of Representatives, June 22, 1736. 
Read and ordered That the plat be accepted and the lands therein 
delineated and described be and hereby are confirmed to the town of 
Medford, in the County of Middlesex, the better to enable them to 
support the ministry and keep a school in the town agreeable to the 
prayer of the petition of said town presented to the court in June 
last : provided the plat exceeds not the quantity of a thousand 
acres and does not interfere with any former grant. Sent up for 

J. Quincy, Spkr. 
In House of Representatives Dec 22 1736 

Read again and question put whether the plat shall be accepted, 
It passed in the negative 

Dec. 29, 1736. Read again and reconsidered and ordered 

Sent up for concurrence, 

J. Quincy, Spkr. 
In Council Dec. 31, 1736. 
Read and concurred 

Simon Frost. Dep. Sec. 
Jan. 1, 1736,-7. Consented to 

J. Belcher — 

w AH the above is self-explanatory, but where was the 
Old Harry's Town ? The N. H. Manual, page 41, under 
the head of Manchester, says: — 

This territory was originally known as Harry town or Old Harry 
Town — . . . Granted by Mason Apr. 17, 1735, to Capt W m 
Tyng's " Snow-shoe men" and hence called Tyngstown Incor- 
porated as Derryfield Sep 3 1751 






As already stated, this town farm was procured in the 
interest of religion and education. Its development and 
care seems to have been the subject of town meetings 
for a period of fourteen years, and the ancient town 
record is of much interest. 

Mr. Morss, in his excellent article on Medford schools, 
Register, Vol. Ill, p. 12, alludes to it, and locates it 
" between the Piscataqua and Merrimac rivers," evidently 
quoting from Brooks' history. But his entire article con- 
tains carefully made quotations from the town records 
relative to school matters. As will be seen from the 
above, this town farm was two miles weshvard from the 
Merrimack and bordered on its small tributary, the Piscata- 
quogg, and not nearly forty miles eastward on the larger 

The old town record book is surely interesting. We 
found it so as we sat in the present cramped quarters of 
the city clerk's office with the book in our lap and copied 
verbatim the town's doings of nearly two centuries 
agone, and were reminded of the flight of present time 
every quarter hour by the cathedral chimes just outside. 
Evidently that "the king's business demands haste " was 
the thought in those days, as the town warrant, dated 
February 3, 1735-6, called a town meeting three days 
later and some others in lesser time. 

Att a town meeting legally convened In Medford february y e 6th 
Day i735 _ 6 Capt Ebenezer Brooks chosen Moderator . . . Voted 
to Chuse a commitee of Two Persons to Lookout Sum Sutable 
Place in the unappropriated Lands of this Provence to Lay out the 
thousand Acres of Land Granted to the said town of Medford by 
the Genr 1 Court in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty- 
five where it may be most advantageous to the town and the Said 
Commt ee are hereby Empowered to Imploy Such men for Surveyor 
and Chain men as they shall Judg most Proper and they are to 
Procicute said afaier as soon as the Season of y e year will Permit 
and likewise to make Report to the Town of their Reasonable Charge 
in Mannaging the Same and the Town to Reamburft y e same; At 
Sd meting \ Mr \V m Willis > chosen for the 
( & Capt John Hall f ends aforsaid 

1918.] MEDFORD' S TOWN FARM. 41 

Att Said meet put to Vote whether y e Selectmen should Draw an 
order on the Tresurer for Ten pounds to be pay d to y e above S d Com- 
mitte for to enable them att present to manage the aforsfd afaires 
Voted in the affirmative 

As seen in the State Archives, the committee secured 
the services of Caleb Brooks, who had the assistance of 
Lieutenant Goffe (who was resident in that vicinity) and 
another, not a chairman, as Brooks' history says, but 
"chanemen" as is clearly spelled in his certificate.* 
This Caleb Brooks was doubtless the son of the modera- 
tor and an early teacher in Medford. 

At the town meeting, July 19, 1738, was discussed 

The affier of plan of Medford and the land voted to be petitioned 
for should be left to y e Discretion of the Committe 

By this it would appear that a map, or plan, of Medford 
and its distant " farm " had been contemplated. Had the 
committeemen's (Willis and Hall) "judg meet for the 
Town's interest " that such should have been made, it 
would have antedated the Ephraim Jones plan noted by 
Judge Wait (Register, Vol. I, p. 128), the earliest plan 
of Medford, by sixteen years. But the plan of the distant 
farm had been made and filed with the province authori- 
ties two years before, and perhaps the committee deemed 
that enough. An interesting entry in the Medford record 
is this: — 

We the Subscribers being appointed July 14 1740 a committee 
to perfect the lines of the farm granted by the Gen 1 Court 1735 
which Lyeth on Pescatequogg River according to the Plan of the 
Same accordingly we Repaird to said farm on the 19 th of Aug 1 1740 
and on the 21 and 22d Dayes of Said month w T ith the assiftance of 
Mr John Goff and Mr. John Lovell 

We dislike to criticise harshly the worthy committee- 
men of so long ago, but do wish that they, or Clerk 
Willis, had finished the statement so well begun on the 
thirtieth page of Vol. Ill, Medford Records. About two 

* The word chairman in Brooks' history is doubtless a misprint that escaped 
detection, as Rev. Mr. Brooks must have known that the surveyor's assistant 
was called a chainman. 



inches at the bottom of that page and nearly as much at 
top of the next is still blank, and is mute testimony that 
a complete report was intended, but by some means 
neglected or omitted. 

On the 29th of June, 1740, the committee were 

Impowered to Do what they may Judg will be most for the Towns 
Advantage in building a small Houfe on the Farm or by other 
ways Desposing by Leting out the said farm for a Term or other 
wayes as may be for the towns interest 

At this time fifteen pounds were appropriated. 

On March 15, 1 741-2, the same committee were given 
further power as to the " Town Farm," "inasmuch as it 
has now fallen into the province of Hamp shier." Ten 
pounds were appropriated, and Benjamin Parker and 
Benjamin Willis added to the committee. 

There is an indication of the boundary controversy, 
based on the " three miles north of the Merrimack," in 
the charter given by King Charles. Massachusetts had 
claimed and had placed a boundary stone in the bed of 
Winnepesaukee river as the three-mile north limit from 
which the " westward to the South Sea " line was to 
extend. The stone, with the initials of governor and 
commissioners, is there today under a granite canopy 
recently erected by the state of New Hampshire. But 
the boundary controversy was accompanied by the Mason 
grant and Gorges patent difficulties, as we may later 
notice. On July 11, 1743, the town voted 

150 pounds old tenor money to be paid Benja Parker, Town Treas- 
urer on the 14 September next to sattisfye the debts and charges 
and what may yet arise in the affairs of the said Towns farm 

And on the 14th of May, 1744, 250 pounds more were 
voted to pay debts about the town farm. At that time 
there seems to have been a change of administration, as 
Capt. Samuel Brooks, Joseph Tufts and Ebenezer Cut- 
ter were chosen " Committe to Take care of the Towns 
farm lying at a place called Pascattequag." 

On November 1, 1744, the town meeting's attention 
was diverted somewhat from the farm matters to paying 


for the past ringing of the newly acquired bell on the 
meeting-house and providing for its future service, and 
adjournment was had to the 15th, to receive account of 
audit of accounts of town farm, when the same was 
allowed and accepted. 

At the meeting of March 4, 1 744-5 the same com- 
mittee was continued. On May 6, 1745, the freeholders 
in land of forty pounds or other estate of fifty at least 
were warned to meet on May 20. Thomas Seccomb had 
become the town clerk, and his entry of record is today 
as clear-cut and legible as print. The business was elec- 
tion of deputy, defraying necessary charges, report of 
committees, " to find the mind of the town as to charge 
of ringing bell ; if swine to go at large till first Monday 
in March next and to take measures to prevent their 
Dogs from coining into the Public assembly on Sab- 
bath." The farm matters are not in evidence till Octo- 
ber 25, 1748, when a warrant called a meeting on the 28th. 

Inasmuch as we have been informed by sundry persons that there 
is danger of some Peoples getting Possession of it . . . Put to vote 
whether the Committe be impowered to agree with some suitable 
persons to Dwell in said Farm and also to take care that said Farm 
be Fenced with a Possession Fence as soon as may be at the charge 
of the town Voted in the affirmative 

It would be very interesting to know just what condi- 
tions then existed as the committee found them. Evi- 
dently the town was not finding its thousand-acre farm 
a bonanza for ministry or school support, and was ready 
to sell out and do business nearer home, as witness the 
following, a month later: — 

Nov 28. 174S Put to vote whether the Town Farm shall be 
sold at Public Vendue to the highest bidder on Monday the fifth 
day of December next at the house of Mrs. Sarah Floyd Inholder 
to begin at three o'clock in y e afternoon and be put up at two thou- 
sand pounds Old Tenor. Voted in the affirmative 
Andrew Hall Esq r 
Dea Benja Willis 
Mr W m Willis 
Lieut Stephen Hale Jun r 
Mr Francis Whitmore Jun r 


The condition of Sale is as follows viz The said Commite to 
take good Security for the Money at Interest at £ 6 p cent for two 
years and . . . give a Quitclaim of said Farm according to the 
Grant of the General Court with the House and Fences with all 
the Emprovements and Utensils thereon and said Purchasers are to 
pay down the sum of Fifty Pounds Old Tenor to he deducted out 
of said Sum sold for and none to bid less than £5 Old Tenor at a 

Voted in the affirmative. 

We are unable to find any record of any vendue at 
Mrs. Floyd's tavern in the old Medford market-place a 
week later, and have grave doubt thereof : because on 
January 23, 1748-9, a warrant was issued, calling a town 
meeting at 6 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, at the 
house of Mrs. Sarah Floyd, 

inasmuch as we find that it may be of great service to y e town as to 
their Farm at Piscataquogge (so called) that some person or per- 
sons should be forthwith sent to Portsmouth in the Province of New 
Hampshire in order to discourse with the Gentlemen that have pur- 
chased Mason's Right or Patent and to determine what will be best 
for the Town to do with Respect to said Farm. 

And here again we are left with our curiosity unsatis- 
fied. But on May 1 the town voted to sell, and imme- 
diately after voted " to sell their Farm at Piscataquogge 
within twelve months." As to what the result of the dis- 
course forthwith with the " Gentlemen " at Portsmouth 
was, and whether a sale was made or not, we are not 
informed, but the town's vote a year later 

July 31 1750 Selectmen sell the utensils of the Town Farm 

certainly has an ominous look. 

Historian Brooks says the vote to sell at auction was 
reconsidered, and that May 15, 1749, "Andrew Hall, 
Capt Sam 1 Brooks, and Richard Sprague were chosen 
to manage the affairs for selling the Town's farm," and 
adds his own statement, " It was sold soon after." Our 
own opinion is, that as the grant of the provincial legis- 
lature was, "provided that it does not interfere with any 
former grant," the Mason grant was valid, and the " dis- 
course " at Portsmouth convinced the Medford commit- 


tee that the house and fencing were a dead loss to 
Medford, and that the " utensils " only remained for the 
town to realize anything from. 

Just what the "Possession Fence" was, that Medford 
erected on the two land boundaries, which were some- 
thing over a half mile in length, we do not know, proba- 
bly not of barbed wire, though the pitch pine and maple 
trees on the river bank would have made good terminal 
posts for such. 

In 1746 the last surviving heir of Mason had sold his 
rights to twelve gentlemen of Portsmouth, who, to con- 
ciliate, recorded quit claims to towns where settlement 
had been made, but we have found no indication of Med- 
ford being thus favored. It might be interesting to know 
how the old tenor basal price named for the vendue com- 
pared with the standard hard money of the time. 

By careful comparison of the foregoing plat and its 
bounds and courses with the map of the New Hampshire 
county of Hillsborough, it is evident that the town farm 
was within the territory incorporated by Gov. Benning 
Wentworth on June 16, 1761, as Goffstown, in honor of 
Col. John Goffe, a resident of the adjoining town of 
Bedford, and one of the chainmen named in the certifi- 
cate of Caleb Brooks. 

The Masonian proprietors had made a grant in 1748 
to Rev. Thomas Parker of Dracut, and to others. These 
last were probably the " some Peoples " and the Ports- 
mouth gentlemen referred to in Medford records, and 
by or under them the first settling thought to have been 
begun in 1742. 

The decision of the crown as to boundary was in 1740, 
and gave to New Hampshire territory fourteen miles 
further south than she had ever claimed. Piscataquogg 
meant "great deer place." The usual reservation of 
" masts for our royal navy " was in the charter of all the 
scores of towns chartered by Wentworth, and perhaps 
after province days some of the timber of that region 
found its way to Medford ship yards. 

46 MEDFORD NOT IN IT. [April, 

" Squog " village, within the two miles west of the 
Merrimack, has been annexed to, and is now a part of, 

In 1812 there was built, perhaps on quite this old 
Medford town farm, a canal boat called the Experiment. 
It was hauled by forty yoke of oxen to the Merrimack, 
launched on the river, loaded, and made the trip down 
stream under the charge of Captain Isaac Riddle. It 
left the river at Chelmsford and came through the Mid- 
dlesex canal, thus voyaging through Medford to Boston, 
where its arrival was hailed with cannon salute. 

It is recorded that the enterprise boomed Bedford, the 
" Hamp shier " town, but we find no record of any mate- 
rial boom coming to Medford by the grant of the General 
Court and the town's outlay thereon, or any help in the 
support of minister or schoolmaster from the "town's 
farm " in " Old Harry's town." M. W. M. 


There has recently come to our city clerk, from a college 
professor of New York, an inquiry as to what action Med- 
ford instructed her deputy in an early General Court to 
take. Limitations of office quarters, and safe keeping of 
records elsewhere, prohibits an immediate official and con- 
clusive answer to the inquirer, who supposes the subject 
in question to be a matter of record here. The problem 
has been referred to the President of the Historical Society 
for solution, and who has replied in a way to the various 
queries. As Medford 's earliest records are of 1674, an d 
the earliest deputy or representative, 1685, it is evident 
that Medford's chances of being historically connected 
with the famous "stray sowe" case in Boston, 1636 to '42, 
are none whatever. Those who may be curious as to this 
matter are referred to page 271, Vol. 2, Life and Letters 
of John Winthrop, where is told the story of the "great 
sowe case " of Goody Sherman vs. Captain Keayne in 
1642. The office of hogreeve in those early days, at 

1918.] THE OLD BOB-TAIL CAR. 47 

least in the case of founder of the " Ancients," incurred 
much responsibility, as it was taken under consideration 
by the Church and next by the General Court, and the 
third party that meddled in the strife found Solomon's 
proverb true, as the colony records show that 

George Story undertook for Rich'd Sherman that if he shal bee 
cast [assessed] what cost he shalbee ceased [assessed] he will 
beare it. 

As the matter was threshed out in the court, it re- 
solved itself into this, in which some towns instructed 
their representatives how to vote. 

Whether the defend 1 bee found to have been possest of the plain- 
tiffs sowe & converted her to his own use or not; it was voted by 
2 ma trats & 15 deputies for the plaintiff, & 7 ma trats & 8 deputies 
for th c defend 1 .& 7 deputies were neuters 

Like some modern lawsuits, the case "dragged its 
slow length along," and a year later the record reads, 

Wee conceive that hee [Story] can blame none but himself . . . 
and that hee must stay till the Co't come again unless Capt Keayne 
& hee come to an agreem t betwixt themselves, wc h wee much desire. 

. The fact that Medford was a peculiar, and not yet a 
full-fledged town (only " Governor Cradock's farm "), ac- 
counts for the absence of town records, and kept Med- 
ford out of the famous controversy of those early days. 
Incidentally we note, in this occurrence was the begin- 
ning of our dual legislature, the Senate and House — 
and that because of a stray pig. 


By the immediate courtesy of the Society for the Preser- 
vation of New England Antiquities our frontispiece pre- 
sents two Medford antiquities, the older of which is fresh 
in our memory — the Thomas Seccomb house. But to 
many the so-called bob-tail car, by courtesy or modern 
camouflage styled transfer, is a real antique. 

48 OLD GLORY AT THE TOP. [April, 1918.] 

In 1885 the Middlesex Street Railway (or its successor), 
by the $8,500 aid of the town, rebuilt its track from the 
top of Winter hill, and later up High Street to West 
Medford. At the latter place there was much disap- 
pointment and not a little resentment, that in view of 
the heavy outlay no better car or service was furnished. 
One of the indignant speakers at the meeting for town 
division voiced the same, saying, "Why! yes, they have 
given us the bob-tail car" It was but little larger than 
the old omnibus first put on the road by N. B.Cunning- 
ham, and later run by Duncklee and Grimes, till in its 
decrepitude it gave way to the new-comer in 18S5. We 
regret that the photo of that which its proprietor once had 
taken has vanished, but are hoping it may yet be found, 
to be reproduced as of local interest. 

But the bob-tail, unlike some of its contemporaries in 
other towns, boasted of two horses and conductor, as well 
as the needful driver. With patience and long-suffering 
the dear public endured the noisy rattle of its loose-fitting 
windows and its general run-downness, until the line ex- 
tended to Everett and, electrified, became the Crosstown. 

Mr. Haddock was the conductor of this pioneer car, 
leaving the same for his present position as city employee. 


During the past month a flag-staff has been placed at 
the top of " Medford's Sky-scraper," the wireless tower 
at Tufts College (Register, Vol. XVIII, p.75). Wehave 
not its measure, nor yet that of the Stars and Stripes 
that fly from its peak (probably twelve feet or more), but 
we venture to say that as the tower is a little way up the 
hill-slope and is three hundred feet high, the added length 
of the staff flies the colors at the highest altitude in the 
vicinity of Boston, for as yet the five-hundred-foot tower 
of the Custom House does not thus display either the 
national colors or the customs flag. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXJ. JULY, 1918. No. 3. 


THE earliest mention of our river is said to have 
been made by some of the Plymouth Pilgrims in 
September, 1621, who said, 

Within this bay the salvages say there are two rivers: one 
whereof we saw having a fair entrance but we had no time to dis- 
cover it. 

Later comes Johnson, who in his Wonder- Working Provi- 
de?ice in describing Charlestown, tells of " the pleasant 
and navigable river of Mistick," using the name that 
Governor Winthrop wrote in his diary under date of 
June 17, 1630, 

We went up Mystick River about six miles. 

Dudley, in his letter to the Countess of Lincoln on 
March 28, 163 1, tells of settlers at Watertown, on the 
Charles river, and 
some of us upon Mistick, which we called Meadford. 

And again Winthrop tells — 

The Governor and others went over Mistic River at Medford 
two or three miles among the rocks to a very great pond which 
they called Spot Pond. 

In these three instances, the earliest known, the river 
is called by name, the name the aboriginal dwellers gave 
it, Missi-tuk, abbreviated and modified a little to suit 
the English lips. The Indian name of the Charles river 
was Quinobequin, the adjective quin meaning long, and 
certainly appropriate. 

Trumbull gives the origin of Mistick thus — 
TUK in Indian denotes a river whose waters are driven in -waves 
by the tides or winds. With the adjective mz'ssz, great, it forms 
Missi-tuk, the name of the great river of Boston Bay. 



50 WHY MYSTIC f [July, 

Even a cursory glance at the early maps, and especially 
at one of latest survey on which the ancient lines are 
drawn,* will show the fitness of the aboriginal names, 
for of the two rivers the " salvages" told the Pilgrim 
scouts ot y one was the long river and the other the great 
zvave- and wind-driven river of Boston bay. 

But perhaps someone asks, " Why Mystic river? " We 
reply, The river has nothing mystical or mysterious, and 
the name as spelled. Mystic, is a misnomer. It has come 
to be thus commonly spelled because of the identical 
sound of the letters i and y, and the dropping of the k, 
which in time was superfluous to the c which the Eng- 
lish had introduced. (Note also Merrimack — Merrimac.) 

The ancient maps show it as Mistick and Medford 
river, but as late as 1SS5 Mr. Usher felt called upon to 
state, on page iS, History of Medford, 

More probably the fact that the current in this stream flows some- 
times in one direction, and sometimes in the opposite, may have 
seemed, to those who first witnessed the phenomena, something 
mysterious, and have suggested the name. 

We venture the query, Was the Missi-tuk or Mistick 
any different from any other tidal stream ? and add the 
above to our list of " Medford myths." 

Incidentally we may add another recently told us — 

Some of the early settlers intending to go up the Charles to 
Cambridge came up this river by mistake, and so the river got its 

Another myth — or else a mystic mistake. 

Where did Winthrop's six-mile journey begin? Natur- 
ally, we reply, at the mouth of the river, the "fair en- 
trance" of the Pilgrim narrative, where is now the 
Chelsea bridge. There has been a lot said and written 
about Winthrop being the founder of Medford — well 
enough in a way, as he was the colonial governor — but 
the earliest Medford was Cradock's farm, and lay entirely 
on the opposite side of the river from Winthrop's. It 
has been written that " The first exploration of the river 

• Cambridge Historical Society Publication VII. 

1918.3 WHY MYSTIC? 51 

carried probably as far as Medford lines," and that "the 
English eyes in that boat were the first eyes of settlers 
that looked upon the fields on which we now live." 
Naturally we ask, What was the scene they beheld ? 
Mr. Brooks answered that in 1855 by saying, "We appre- 
hend it is very much today what it was two hundred 
years ago." In some respects correct. The marshes 
would of themselves change but little. But the earliest 
Medford had comparatively little marshland. What it 
had, began nearly two miles up-stream and practically 
ended below Gravelly brook, as there was but little be- 
yond the " Ford at Mistick." 

We know not how those " six miles " were computed, 
and doubt whether Winthrop's company reached the 
farther Medford lines, or even Mistick pond or the Indian 
" weare." The sinuous course of the river (that doubled 
up at Labor-in-vain, and thrice again alongside Win- 
throp's farm), and his failure to mention the ponds, makes 
it improbable. But six miles would take the voyagers 
by the Ten-hills farm, the ford and to the scarred promon- 
tory of Rock hill. From the ford onward, the sylvan 
scene must have been enchanting, as the Medford Pas- 
ture hill with its wooded slopes rose abruptly from the 
plain beside Gravelly brook, but more gently from the 
river. Then came the brooks before and beyond Rock 
Hill, those later to be known as Meeting-house and 
Whitmore, and then the long encircling reach of the 
river to the Indian weare and fording place. 

Surely the Cradock farm was beautiful for situation, 
" four miles along the river and a mile back in all places." 

Winthrop's farm was in Charlestown (he was not a 
Medfordite at all), and extended from just below the 
ford down stream below the slope of Winter hill. There 
was a lot of marsh land even in the Ten-hills farm. But 
it was on the lower end of this farm that the Blessing of 
the Bay was built. 

The governor seems to have liked the old Indian name 
of Missi-tuk or Mistuck, or Mistick, Misticke or Mys- 

52 WHY MYSTIC? [July, 

tycke, as he tells of his house and farm at Mistick in a 
perfectly natural way, and with no mysticism or mystery 
at all. But in 1754 the little four-mile town of Meadford 
needed more room, and ancient Charlestown was too en- 
circling, so the portion of Winthrop's farm and some 
more of Charlestown from the top of Winter hill follow- 
ing some pasture lines over Walnut-tree hill to the river, 
a triangular plat next Woburn, and the .Charlestown 
wood lots next Maiden, were annexed to Medford. 

While this placed the entire width of the river, with 
two tributaries,* in Medford for over two miles, yet 
Charlestown still had another mile, with its cow pastures 
and the "line field," through which flowed the Menotomy 
river, below the Indian weare and fording place. Fifty 
years later she surrendered the line field to the new town 
of West Cambridge, and a century later all her remain- 
ing territory outside the peninsula became the town of 

Winthrop and his companions saw the red man's Missi- 
tuk in its primitive solitude, fordable at the Indian trails, 
its broad marshes where is now Chelsea and Everett, its 
upper reaches bordered with wooded hills and level 
plains. He knew nothing of its tributary streams, nor 
yet of the territory through which they flowed, but his 
contemporaries soon learned something of it. 

Johnson, whom we have already quoted, describes 
Woburn (Charlestown village) thus, as 

the highest of the yet peopled land neere upon the head springs of 
many confiderable rivers or their branches, as the firft rife of Iff- 
-witch river, and the rife of SJiafhin river, one of the confiderable 
branches of the Merrimeck, as alfo the firft rife of Miftick river 
and ponds. 

Evidently this ancient historian, settler and man of 
affairs, considered the Aberjona the main stream, and 
its head waters away up in Wilmington the " firft rife of 
the Miftick." But another has its source away on the 
hills in Woburn near Lexington line, and coming down 

* Winter and Two-penny brooks. 

1918.3 WHY MYSTIC? 53 

through the picturesque Shaker glen, receives the tribu- 
taries, lingers a while in Horn pond (Lake Innitou) and 
Wedge Pond (Echo Lake), and joins the Aberjona in 
Winchester. Still another in Stoneham reaches the main 
stream two miles farther up in Montvale. 

On the Aberjona, Edward Converse built one of the 
earliest grist mills in the colony, and only recently has 
the power ceased to be used. Still, the fall remains, but 
as an ornamental feature. There were as many as four- 
teen mill privileges on this Aberjona and its tributaries. 

Two other brooks contribute to the flow of the Mis- 
tick pond, the Squa Sachem and Sucker brook. The 
latter rises in Lexington, and in its course turned the 
wheels of nine mills, the lowest of which is still in use. 

On the Mistick itself there have been six water mills at 
various times, two undisputably w r ithin the most ancient 
Medford bounds and the other four on the opposite bank. 
The earliest was the Broughton mill in " Minnottomies 
field" in 1656,* and over its dam the road from Cam- 
bridge led to Woburn via present Grove street. An- 
other, at a later date, was just above present Harvard 
avenue, and remains of the same came to light but a few 
years ago.t The old tide-mill at the lumber yard on 
Ship street, discontinued twenty-five years ago, the Cut- 
ter mill on the turnpike, and the Woods mill near Wear 
bridge have all been mentioned in the Register. The 
sixth w r as the Tufts mill in Charlestown, a tide-mill just 
below Sullivan square. 

But with the coming of the white man the Missi-tuk 
solitude and quiet was broken. The woodman's axe 
rang among the locust trees of the Ten-hills farm, and 
ere long the Blessing of the Bay took her initial plunge 
into the Mistick, the forerunner of the hundreds that 
were later to follow. But this was not in Medford, as 
has been so often said, but rather in ancient Charlestown. 

Along with and following the governor in those early 

* See Register, Vol. XIII, p. 7. 
t See Register, Vol. XVII, p. 15. 

54 WHY M YS TIC t [July, 

years came some eighteen hundred settlers, some of 
whom found homes across the river where now is Wel- 
lington, and at Mystic-side or Maiden. To accommo- 
date these a ferry was established, and the Missi-tuk 
began to be a highway, and later began to be utilized for 
power when mills were erected. Next came the bridge 
built near the ford, which, during the ship-building 
period, was reconstructed with a draw, and finally suc- 
ceeded 'by the present double-arched granite structure. 
Next was built the Wear bridge, and these two continued 
to be the only bridges until the Maiden bridge was built 
at the Penny-ferry in Charlestown. 

The colony and province days had been a quarter 
century gone ere the Mistick was bridged again, this 
time by a more massive structure, strong enough to 
carry, not a highway, but a zvaterway, with its superin- 
cumbent weight, the aqueduct of the Middlesex canal. 
This in 1802. Thirty-two years more and the canal was 
to have a rival, and Lowell railroad bridge was built 
nearby, the Winthrop bridge in 1855, and the Usher 
bridge in 1857. In 1863 the Charlestown Water-works 
bridge, and in 1873 tne Canal bridge on the old aque- 
duct piers, connected West Medford with Somerville 
territory, and another at Auburn street the same year. 
Meanwhile the Middlesex-avenue bridge, with a draw, 
had been erected, and in earlier years (down stream, and 
not in Medford bounds) Chelsea bridge and those of the 
Eastern, and Boston and Maine railroads. In recent 
years the Canal, Armory, Auburn street-Parkway, and 
Metropolitan pipe bridge, and just now the Boston Ele- 
vated to Everett, complete the list of fourteen now in 
use and two discontinued and removed. 

It had been our purpose to present views of all these, 
but conditions forbid. We can only refer our readers 
to the engineer's report (September 21, 1904) on the 
''Improvement of Upper Mystic River" for the twelve 
then existing, and also to various reports of the Metro- 
politan Park Commission, for subsequent improvements. 

191S.] WHY MYSTIC f 55 

From the hill slopes of forty-five square miles the rains 
and melting snows reach our river and swell its current 
above the ancient ford. The ever-recurring tides ebbed 
and flowed therein until, in 1908, in the interest of public 
welfare, engineering skill erected a barrier which say?, 
" Thus far but no farther." Cradock bridge, its exten- 
sion, the lock with its electrically operated gates, the 
dam with its automatic tidal valves, and the four hun- 
dred feet of over-fall, is in marked contrast with the 
earliest structure, the bone of contention of those early 
days. Without these the beautiful parkway would have 
been impossible. 

Along the river's banks have been scenes of activity 
in days now long gone, for 

Here rested the noble ships, 

Keel, frame and towering spar, 
And where the horizon dips, 

They sailed and vanished afar. 

and of the final fate of five hundred and sixty-seven of 
them little is known. Up stream 

The rent wharf wasted away 

until the steam dredge removed islands, deepened the 
channel, eliminated some of the serpentine courses and 
bordered the stream with the valley parkway. Beneath 
the river cross water-mains and sewers, while on its sur- 
face numerous pleasure craft make their way or find 
moorings. We have heard of no Mystic submarines in 
the waters, but winged ships of the air have flown up its 
course and over its tributary, Menotomy. 

After the Civil W T ar the project was broached of dredg- 
ing and widening our river and making a storage basin 
of the lower lake for the monitors of the navy. But a few 
years before there had been built the dam at the " Part- 
ings," and the upper lake had become the Charlestown 
water supply. Seven additional drawbridges would have 
added nothing to the beauty of the scene, and as the 
monitors soon became obsolete, it was well the project 

56 WHY MYSTIC? [July, 

was abandoned and the lower lake did not become a 
floating junk-yard. 

Another project that failed was, in 1S76, the Mystic 
Valley railroad that began to fill an embankment requir- 
ing a bridge across the old course of the Aberjona at the 
upper end of the lake. This, the upper reach of the 
Mystic (and sometimes called Symmes' river) had been 
crossed by the long wooden aqueduct of the canal in 
1802, replaced by the substantial stone structure of 1827, 
removed in 1865, as was also the Symmes dam and water- 
power the same year. 

If we trace the stream farther up we go beyond old 
Medford bounds and out of Upper Medford, as it used 
to be called. We will find that our neighboring town 
of Winchester has improved its flow through her terri- 
tory, making it permanently ornamental, adding much 
to its attractiveness. 

And now we come back to our caption query, Why 
Mystic? and answer, Mystic it is not, except by common 
usage. Missi-tuk, the Indians called it. The early set- 
tlers adopted the Indian name, spelling it various ways, 
and later, almost discarding it, called it often Medford 
river and Medford pond or ponds, and latterly Mystic, 
which, we repeat, is a misnomer. 

Since the preparation of this article there came to us in 
an exchange an interesting article concerning the name 
of the upper river that the earliest historian, Johnson, 
called " the first rise of the Mistick," which we reproduce 
as pertinent to this subject. We do not, however, think 
that the Indians of this valley or locality, the ab-originis 
or aborigines, were acquainted with the Latin language, 
and as yet are unaware of the meaning of the word Aber- 
ginians, if indeed it was an Indian (or aboriginal) word, 
as was Missi-tuk. 

M. W. M. 

n r ~ rr ^ -»!— ~ 

I '1 

: ■' 


Hi f* 





^^^^Frfl^ ▼"'w 





. 3 J 


-— ■ <.- • ; 




8^i^3i„ Js?V 1 wS , « 'ft-v-.^-w- 




'■$, . 

r ' t 

■ ; 4 


1918.] 57 


By Sylvester Baxter, a member of, and by permission of, the Maiden Historical Society. 

In looking up some data in early local history I have 
just come across something that seems to throw a light 
upon one of our old geographical names whose origin 
has always puzzled me and which, so far as I know, 
appears to be unknown. The Mystic river — which 
geologically has a peculiar interest as having in the 
preglacial period actually been the Merrimac, carrying 
the greater stream by a short cut from near Lowell to 
Massachusetts Bay — has, since the first settlements, 
borne two names in different parts of its course, although 
the entire valley has been known as that of the Mystic. 
From its confluence with the Charles, near the Navy 
Yard, up through its tidal reaches, or what were tidal 
until the building of the dam and locks at Medford, 
up to the Mystic Lakes, it has been called the Mystic. 
Above the lakes, from Wilmington down through Wo- 
burn and Winchester, it appears to have been always 
known as the Aberjona, a name that is found in the 
early records of Woburn. Since most of our names of 
rivers, ponds, hills, etc., are of Indian origin, it has usually 
been assumed to be an aboriginal designation. To many, 
however, the name, with its "jona," has suggested a 
Scriptural derivation. And since many place-names 
have come from those of persons living in the neighbor- 
hood, it has also been somewhat fantastically suggested 
that perhaps the name is a corruption of " Abbie Jones' 
river," just as the Greater New 7 York borough of the 
Bronx derives its picturesque name from an old-timer 
named Broncks. But there is no evidence in behalf of 
either of these assumptions. 

Just now, however, having had occasion to look up 
some facts in relation to the famous expedition of the 
three Sprague brothers, Ralph, Richard and William, 
pioneers in the settlement of Charlestown, across coun- 
try through the woods from Salem, I find that in the 
Charlestown records it is related that this party " lighted 

58 WHY ABERJONA ? [July, 

of a place situate and lying on the north side of Charles 
river, full of Indians, called Aberginians." Often as 1 
had read that account, I had never before attached any 
particular significance to the name of those Indians 
other than that it seemed so different from Algonquin 
nomenclature in general, except that it was somewhat 
suggestive of "Virginians" and might possibly have 
come from the circumstance that New England was 
originally regarded as a part of Virginia. 

Now a place name is often derived from the name of 
the people who live there, or the name of the people 
may come from that of the place. We are here informed 
that the Indians of that neighborhood were called "Aber- 
ginians." And is there not a striking resemblance be- 
tween that name and " Aberjona "? And in face of this 
extraordinary resemblance is it not reasonable to infer 
that the name of those Indians came either from that of 
the river on whose banks they lived, or that the river 
took its name from the Indians? It would require only 
a transition from a single vowel to make " Aberginians " 
identical with " Aberjonians." Hence it seems quite 
natural to assume that Aberjona was originally the name 
of the entire river, from its source down to the sea, in- 
stead of being limited to the section above the lakes as 
at present — the lakes, or ponds, being simply slack- 
water and a tidal basin, respectively, in the river. 

In the same Charlestown records occurs the following 
passage describing Charlestown or Mishawum, penin- 
sular as the first settlers found it: "Upon surveying, they 
found it was a neck of land, generally full of stately tim- 
ber, as was the main, and the land lying on the east side 
of the river called Mistick river (from the farm Mr. 
Cradock's servants had planted, called Mistick, which this 
river led up unto) and indeed generally all the country 
round about was an uncouth wilderness, full of timber." 

The name " Mystic," as applied to this river, has been 
derived by some students of history not from the English 
word, but has been held to be of Indian origin, coming 

1918.] E PLURIBUS UNUM, 59 

from the Algonquin " Mistuck," signifying " great tidal 
river," or estuary. But according to this early record 
the name of the river came from that of the Cradock 
farm in Medford. In that event it might naturally have 
been limited to the lower reaches of the stream, taking 
the place of the original name, the Aberjona, which was 
retained for the upper portion. Altogether, the remark- 
able likeness of Aberjona and Aberginian seems to afford 
the most rational solution for the origin of the name of 
one of the most beautiful of our little rivers. And would 
it be altogether fantastic to suggest a possible relation- 
ship between the w r ord " Aberginians" and "aborigines"? 


Between the leaves of an old and rare book recently 
donated the Historical Society we find the following 
poem by Rev. John Pierpont, who was minister of Med- 
ford's First Parish, 1 849-1 S58. We remember it in our 
war song book of 1861, and the impression it made on 
our youthful mind. With music and astronomy furnish- 
ing similes, the author certainly "did his bit" in con- 
tributing this poem to our literature and to the national 
cause in those troublous and stirring times. Though 
in his seventy-sixth year he was chaplain of the Twenty- 
second Massachusetts Regiment, and doubtless wrote 
this after the battle of Bull Run, when the Southern 
forces were " with victory flushed." 


The harp of the minstrel with melody rings 

When the Muses have taught him to touch and to tune it ; 
And although it may have a full octave of strings, 
To both maker and minstrel the harp is a unit. 
So the power that creates 
Our Republic of States 
To harmony tunes them at different dates ; 
And many or few, when the Union is done, 
Be they thirteen or thirty, the nation is one. 


The science that measures and numbers the spheres, 
And has done so since first the Chaldean began it, 
Now and then, as she counts them and measures their years, 
Brings into our system and names a new planet. 
Yet the old and new stars, 
Venus, Neptune and Mars, 
As they drive round the sun their invisible cars, 
Whether faster or slower their races are run, 
Are "E Pluribus Unuin " — of many made one. 

Of those federate spheres, should but one fly the track, 

Or with others conspire for a general dispersion, 
By the great central orb they would all be brought back, 
And each held in place by a wholesome t4 coercion." 
Were one daughter of light 
Indulged in her flight, 
They might all be engulfed by old Chaos and Night. 
So must none of our sisters be suffered to run, 
For "E Pluribus Unum" — we all go, if one. 

Let the Demon of Discord our melody mar, 

Or Treason's red hand rend our system asunder, 
Break one string from our harp or extinguish one star, 

The whole svstem 's ablaze with its lightning and thunder. 
Let that discord be hushed ! 
Let the traitors be crushed, 
Though Legion their name, all with victory flushed, 
For aye must our motto stand, fronting the sun : 
44 E Pluribus Unum " — the many are one. — John Pier pout. 

By poetic license, he gives the states as thirty (really 
thirty-one then), though some were badly out of tune. 
The planet Neptune had been known as such by astrono- 
mers only fifteen years. The "coercion "he quoted had 
been a political bugaboo, held impossible by many who 
held "state rights" doctrines; and certainly everything 
was ablaze with the lightning and thunder of civil war. 
It was given him to see that great strife closed and the 
reconstruction begun that demonstrates to all the world 
that " the nation is one," and on the last Sabbath of his 
life, the day before his passing, to worship where he had 
preached, and from thence be borne to his rest. We 
fancy that had he been living in 1898, his rejoicing 



■ I 


Below the Dam. 

Mystic Water Works 1>.\.m. 

Along Upper Lake. 


that the "many arc one" would have found expression 
in verse. How much more so today. The thirty-one, 
grown to forty-eight, are united as never before, and 
wherever the music to which his verses were sung in 
1 86 1 is heard, the people, because of that unity, give 
visibly respectful attention. 


A Boston daily recently noted the centenary of the 
launching in New York of the first steam vessel, that 
crossed the Atlantic the following year. This is timely, 
in these new ship-building days. 

The Savannah was a sailing vessel, and steam was 
used as auxiliary power but eighty hours of the passage, 
which took twenty-seven days. Incidentally we note 
that Medford was the scene of some steam navigation 
that same year, from which great things were expected, 
but was, like the Savannah, "commercially a failure/' 
though from different causes. The Register has told 
the story before (Vol. XVII, p. 92) in some detail, and 
now, because of its centennial, notices it again. Accus- 
tomed as we have become to the swiftly moving motor 
boats on our river, we would 'look with some curiosity 
on the nondescript that ploughed its way through the 
old town — not on the river, but where is now no vestige 
of water, nor has there been since 1852, when the Mid- 
dlesex canal gave up its unequal struggle with the rival 

In a town of less than fifteen hundred people, with 
the canal's course in a sparsely settled portion, probably 
but few saw it. One of the employees, however, was 
specific enough, in writing his bill, to note the various 
services performed. His name was William Phipps, 
and the item, "Aug. 11. 1 day to Medford with steam- 
boat, $1.50," is a part of the amount receipted for by 
him, and fixes the time of at least one occurrence. 


We may wonder what the few that did see it thought 
of it It is said that the Clermont alarmed some dwellers 
by the Hudson. One of them declared " he had seen 
the devil going to Albany in a saw-mill." But New 
Yorkers became accustomed to it, while Medfordites did 
not, and with the passing of the few witnesses the fact 
that such an occurrence had been was lost sight of for 
many years. It seems like a fairy tale when Summer 
street and Boston avenue, Sagamore avenue and the 
Mystic Valley parkway are pointed out as being the 
course of a steamboat voyage a hundred years ago, but 
such is the case. 

From " Tracks of a Traveler," published in (Novem- 
ber, 1850) Ladies Repository, we take the following 
extract : — 

Behind that thicket, away yonder, lies the delightful little town 
of Medford. There I have spent a day. There Capt. Sylvanus 
Rich inducted me into the art of ship-building. The whole time 
of the visit was devoted exclusively to this object. I came away 
quite a Robinson Crusoe, and could, I think, scoop out a canoe, at 
least, and rig it in true nautical fashion, should ever an occasion 
call for it. 

At this place, too, I beheld a wonder. With my own eyes I saw 
the buds of three large roses growing on the limb of an apple-tree ! 
That beats the knockers all to pieces. 

The traveler who thus wrote was Rev. B. F. Tefft, d.d., 
the editor whose " Tracks " covered a journey from Cin- 
cinnati, O., to Bangor, Me., and return. 

In this section quoted from, he described Boston and 
suburbs as seen from the State House cupola, and in 
another place we find that Captain Rich was of Brook- 
line. He visited Bath, Me., and mentions its ship-building, 
but as inferior to that of Medford in amount. 

His publication at New York and Cincinnati, 1840- 
1877, was that " devoted to literature and religion " issued 
by the " Book Concern " of the Methodist Episcopal 

191 8.] O UR ILL USTRA TIONS. 6 3 

Church, and held the esteem of the people as the " queen 
of the monthlies.' 1 It would seem that such a one as he 
would not be imposed on by any "fake," and now, after 
sixty-eight years, we ''wonder" (to use his word) if Med- 
ford had then a Luther Burbank, as we later knew, to 
our sorrow and cost, of " Professor" Leopold Trouvelot, 
of gypsy-moth fame. Who of our horticultural friends 
can throw any light on this long-ago incident? 


Reference is made in this issue to various reports of 
the Park Commission which contain full-page views of 
improvements and bridges over our river. We are pre- 
senting a series of smaller ones secured ere these began, 
and a comparison of them with present conditions will 
be of interest and show the changes that have occurred. 

In our frontispiece, and in upper left, we look up 
stream toward Main street. The tower of St. Joseph's 
Church, and two houses (now " The Fewtrell ") are seen 
beyond the arches of Cradock bridge. The spire of the 
old Trinitarian Church (later St. Joseph's, now Page & 
Curtin's store), had not been removed. Foster's wharf 
shows the decadence of the lumber business, but a three- 
masted vessel lies at the farther wharf. There is no 
sign of the lock on the other bank. 

The central view shows the island that was above the 
" ford at Mystick." 

The lower left shows the river, looking down stream 
from the old bridge at Auburn street. At present it 
flows through the marshes seen on either side, and the 
water foreground has been filled. So great has been the 
change that the salt marsh has this year been a war gar- 
den. The storied steeple of the old Unitarian Church is 
also seen in this view. 

In the upper right, the view is up stream, also from 
Auburn street. The spire of the West Medford Con- 


gregational Church (burned 1903) and Ober's coal sheds 
and storehouse, appear beyond the mouth of Whitmore 
brook. Crowding into the foreground are back-yard 
sheds and fences, where is now the new river channel and 
parkway. This, with Auburn street, crosses like shears 
on the new concrete bridge, which was built in a big 
excavation and the river turned thither at its completion. 
In the lower right is the expanse of the river, looking 
up stream from the old Water-works bridge at Jerome 
street. The indentation at the left is the mouth of the 
Menotomy. It is now nearer in the foreground. The 
smaller one above was the site of the Broughton mill of 
1656. The stakes and nets bending toward the fish- 
house on the Medford side were the last of the alewife 
fishing industry in Medford. The Hall house, seen be- 
yond, was removed, but the Medford branch of the park- 
way begun, remains incomplete. 

Facing page 56 is a group of " Bridges over Mystic 
River." Its central view is that of " First bridge," built 
by Cradock's men. We approach the description of 
this with caution, but are encouraged by the legend, 
"drawing from records." In Vol. II, No. 1, Register, 
is the able article on " Bridges of Medford " by J. H. 
Hooper, which describes its earliest construction and 
gives the length of the bridge, which was approached 
by a causeway. But we have grave doubts of the struc- 
ture, described as " rude and weak in construction," 
being as smoothly angular and straightly railed as this 
seems to be. The sedge grass in the foreground is 
realistic, but the trees on the opposite bank are too luxu- 
riant for their proximity to the salt Mistick, and we also 
fear the artist exceeded the probabilities in inserting the 
Unitarian Church steeple, and dwellings on Pasture hill 
in his picture. Still, the conception of this primitive 
bridge will of itself hold good for Medford's first two 
centuries. By contrast, note the lower right-hand view, 
in which there is little change at present. The dam will 

fr W 


i * 

% . 





^ /' 

SmV",' r ''V V,n^ ! 



*A- ■,. 

j& . — 


(MarrabeJ)'s or Marble.) 

Willows and Bridge. Brook at Wade Mill-Site. 

Camera Cur at Turkey Swamp, 1889; 
Bridge, Border Road. Willows, Lawrence Estate. 


not admit reflection of " The Fewtrell " through the arch, 
the lock has since been built, and the Carlton house, seen 
over the other arch, is but recently removed. 

In the upper left is the old Wear bridge, at the farther 
end of High street. The overhanging willows and shallop 
are at the site of the " Woods dam " and tide-mill, at one 
time famous in Medford boating annals. Beneath this 
bridge the tides surged swiftly to and fro. 

The lower left view shows the Lowell railroad em- 
bankment, built in 1834, across the marshland of Charles- 
town (now Somerville) on the right, looking clown stream. 
The lines of the river bank are here much changed, but 
the stone arch remains, embedded in the newer one of 
concrete, built in 1906. 

The upper right-hand view is " Canal bridge," over 
which Boston avenue was built in 1873. There were 
four spans, in all one hundred and thirty-four feet, the 
length of the first canal aqueduct, which was here built 
in 1802. Renewed in 1827, on the old abutments and 
on three new granite piers, it remained disused from 1852 
to 1873, gradually becoming a picturesque ruin, until 
utilized as here seen. The name was given it by the 
city government, at the request of the Historical Society, 
in 1903. The iron cover in the foreground is of the 
Metropolitan sewer siphon, and the daisies were in full 
bloom when the photographer looked up stream here. 

The earliest portion of the parkw r ay to be built in 
Medford was from High street along the lakes to Win- 
chester. Facing page 60 is a view of the same through 
the Brooks estate, another with the Symmes house and 
mouth of the Aberjona in the distance. The water is the 
farther end of the upper Mystic lake, once the meadow 
of Rev. Zachariah Symmes, that was flow T ed by the 
Broughton dam two miles down the river. The present 
flowage is by the Mystic dam of 1863, seen in the central 
view. Across the water is " Inter-laken," and higher is 
" Morningside," as the recent building sections of that 


part of Arlington arc styled. No more beautiful view- 
can be had of the Abcrjona-Mystic valley than from the 
latter, unless it be from Grove street. 


A few years ago we received a request from an elderly 
man, long absent from, but Medford born, that some one 
write for the Register " the story of the Frenchman's 
mill." He passed away soon after, and we know not 
where the mill he named was, unless it was that men- 
tioned in Vol. IV, p. 51, of the Register, and again by 
Mr. Woolley in his story of "the brook of Medford," be- 
side which was the Second Meeting-house. His descrip- 
tion revived an interest awakened by reading of the 
" Bower " in Brooks' History, and led to 


The glorious sunshine of a recent winter morning was an allure- 
ment that decided the writer to take a woodland ramble that had 
been long deferred, and nine o'clock found him at High street, look- 
ing into the waters of Meeting-house brook. So he said, "Well, 
old brook, I've seen you many times before in your straight-jacket 
at High street, and in your serpentine wriggling ere you lost your- 
self in the river; but I'll make your acquaintance today in your 
sylvan home, see what your wanderings are and from whence you 

After passing the fences each side the lane to the Hall farm, a 
vision of beauty appeared in the miniature falls, as the brook de- 
scends in an even sheet over the granite cope beneath, and between 
the higher wall on either side. Below the lowest fall an iron-railed 
bridge spans the stream, and above each the brook widens, as if to 
linger awhile, while further up the stones that lie in its course hold 
it a little and give the waters a musical voice in their plunge. 

Great willows have their roots by its side, and one has fourteen 
distinct trunks growing from one common base. Two of these, a 
few feet up, have so crowded each other as to grow together as 
one, but they separate agairi. The brook was altogether silent as 
to the thirteen superstition. 

Another bridge is here, with a larger willow that has felt the 
effects of storm and time. Great branches have been torn from it, 
the rents and scars have been filled up with masonry, thus saving 
the life of that remaining, much as some old veteran of many bat- 


tics has been patched and mended, and enabled to continue in 

Beneath its shade one can rest on the benches there provided, 
or drink from the cool spring that boils up from the ground at the 
brook's edge and overflows the stony basin about it. Some kindly 
hand has placed an iron post and drinking cup beside it for thirsty 
ramblers — cold water ramblers. 

Across a mown held flows the brook with even course; then the 
rambler climbed a stone wall and entered the woodland, known as 
the Fells. 

The ramble was attended with little difficulty, the frozen ground 
affording a firm footing, though the iw record" Sunday and Monday 
that followed must have told upon the frost, and only a few patches 
among the shady nooks gave evidence of the snow that had been. 

Here and there the brook divides, and uniting again, forms 
miniature islands, while across the slowly moving waters were 
quaint bridges of Jack Frost's architecture. 

Beautiful to look at, but too frail for use, except for the brownies 
or elves of the forest, the rambler sought the help of some con- 
venient boulder or fallen tree for the few crossings he made, un- 
less, indeed, the brook narrowed enough to admit of a step across. 

Soon he entered a narrow valley where the hills arose on either 
side and between them lay a level ridge before his view. Through 
this is an opening where flowed the brook, and through this pass, 
in the distance, the still rising and surrounding hills are seen. To 
the right is another opening some rods nearer, which is lined with 
stone walls on either side. 

Yes, this is the " Bower" (so called fifty years ago), the site of 
the ancient mill, where the early dwellers of '* Meadford " came 
with their corn for grinding; and here, possibly, the first lumber 
was sawed in the old town by power. 

It is more than probable that boards for some of Medford's old 
houses were here sawed, for there is record of a saw-mill at this 
spot two hundred and forty years ago. 

Yes, there was power here and lots of it, too, in those old days, 
colony days "when we were under the King." And possibly 
some of the trees had the king's broad arrow on them, too, but 
they are long gone now. 

The walled enclosure is the old raceway, and below, at the open 
end, is the wheel-pit. That great pile of rocks is the foundation 
of the mill that was elevated almost twenty feet from the brook 
below. Great trees have grown, and the culvert through the dam 
is closed by the accumulated debris, but a climb to the top reveals 
the extent of the old mill pond, and the course of the brook as it 
slowly meanders through it. 

68 MEETING-HOUSE BROOK. [July, 1918.] 

All about in the hills the ledges crop out, and on these are great 
boulders, left by the retreating glacier, ages ago. Grim and dark, 
they stand like sentinels on guard ; some broken by frost, moss- 
grown and hoary-headed, they were old when the first settlers came. 

Just here the rambler's vision of the ancient time and the early 
dwellers, that was accompanied by the music of the rippling brook, 
was interrupted by the calls and appearance of the moth brigade, 
and the sawing, scraping and creosote daubing reminded him of 
the presence of the modern pests and the alarming proportions they 

Farther up, the brook is crossed by the road leading from Forest 
street to Ram's Head hill. Here is a rustic bridge, and for some 
distance the declivity is but slight, and the stream broadens and 
lingers in the shady groves. 

Again a cart-path into the woods crosses it, and here is a ruined 
bridge, the stone abutments still good, however. A little further 
a diminutive grove of white birches gleams in the sunlight and 
overshadows the stream, and just beyond looms up the lofty dam 
of the Winchester South reservoir. 

This forms a barrier across the valley and cuts off further search 
for the source of Meeting-house brook, once called Marrabel's or 
Marble. Its original source was over half a mile farther on in 
Turkey swamp, but the rambler found no swamp or turkeys there, 
as the reservoir occupies its place. 

With the exception of the woodsmen, he met no one to converse 
with during his tramp, but found constant pleasure in the sylvan 
solitude by exploring the shady nooks and peering into the spark- 
ling waters of the stream, catching a glimpse ever and anon of its 
shy denizens, as they darted quickly under sheltering rocks. The 
shadows of the trees were long, even at noon, and the handy 
camera secured him some views as souvenirs of a pleasant ramble 
on an equally pleasant midwinter day. 

Meeting-house is but one of the direct tributaries of 
the Mystic, and the views facing page 64 were secured 
seventeen years prior to those of the rambler, whose visit 
was twelve years ago. It was a source of satisfaction to 
him that others found enjoyment over the same route, 
and that the rambler's story we now present gave pleas- 
ure to that old Medford boy, whose latest thoughts re- 
verted to his boyhood home. 

To members of the Mystic Camera Club we are in- 
debted for the preservation of many interesting views 
in Medford, among which are our present illustrations. 




■:•;*• .^ 


& c 

fan &r 





< h 

1 c 

< H 

o _ 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXI. OCTOBER, 1918. No. 4. 

By Eliza M. Gill. 

NOT a war garden of 19 18, but one in peace times 
ninety years ago and more. This garden was on 
the estate, on the banks of the Mystic, owned by Timothy 
Bigelow. Martin Burridge was the gardener, in the em- 
ploy of the Bigelow family many years. 

The writer has at hand two note-books measuring 
three and three-quarters inches by six and one-quarter 
inches, with limp covers of marbled paper, one marked 
"Garden Book, 1827," kept by this old-time gardener. 
With these in lieu of " Open Sesame,'' the gate will swing 
back and give the readers of the Register a glimpse of 
this old garden, let them see the fruits that were grown, 
the crops harvested. These books were neatly kept; the 
writing is plain, sometimes done with ink, again with 
pencil. They show Mr. Burridge as being careful, sys- 
tematic, thorough, and interested in his w r ork. 

The entries of the garden book extend successively 
through the years to 1838, being necessarily few each 
year, but confined to such basic facts and information 
as would enable him to intelligently care for the green- 
house and garden in his charge. He noted the first 
and latest frosts, the temperature, time when seeds were 
sown and crops harvested, thus being able to compare 
the seasons, particularly those of sowing and harvesting, 
one year with another. 

The following entries stand as they are in the original, 
for in these days of phonetic and simplified spelling there 
is no need of apology, and to make any change would 
take from the charm these pages written so many years 


70 A MEDFORD GARDEN. [October, 

ago disclose to us, and surely one can but agree with the 
famous Southern statesman who declared a man was a 
fool who couldn't spell a word more than one way. 

We shall find these fruits growing either under glass or 
in open culture — strawberries, peaches, lemons, oranges, 
nectarines, pears, quinces. The blossoming of the quinces 
was regularly noted each year without fail. The vege- 
tables from his garden supplied Mr. Bigelow's table; his 
house was called " the seat of hospitality," and he him- 
self was termed a hospitable neighbor. 

January lh iS 1S27 at 7 o'clock A. M. Glass was doun six degrees 
below zero. 

Next morning the same 

March 26 Saw the first swallow 

March 27 Apricot & peach in blossom 

April 11 Wall trees in full Blossom 

April 12 planted the first Corn & potatoes & Summer Squashes 

April 17 Took up the boards in the front yard & White washed 
the trees 

May th 10 Planted the first Corn & Potatoes 

May 15 Soed the Beets, Carrots, Parsnips & Onions. 15 Planted 
my Corn & potatoes 

May 17 Quince tree in blossom 
17 Peas in Blossom 

June th 4 pickd the first Strawburrys 

July the 1 had the first new potatoes 

August the 4 Picked the first peach 

August 23 Cactus Triangularius Blossom 

October the 16 Got the plants into the Green House 

October 17 had the first frost. 

December 17 1827 Pickd. 18. Lemons witch weighed iS lbs. 
2 oz. Large weighed, 22. oz. Measured 17 inches one way 13, the 

1S28 Jan. th 16. pickd the first Jappan Rose 

Jan. 22 Glass down to Zero at Sunrise 

March th 9, Soed the first Peas & Reddishes 
""March the 17 Nobless Peach in Blossom 

April th 1 Soed the Peas in the upper garden 

April the 1 Soed the Seeds in the Hotbead 

April th 7 The Multifloer Rose in Blossom 

April the 20 the Cluster Rose in full blossom 

May th 13 first pashion flower in blossom 

May th 16 Sot out the annual Flower plants 

1918.] A MEDFORD GARDEN. 71 

June the 8 had the first pees 

June ,he S had the first strawberries 

June the 1 6 Got the plants out of the Green House 

June th 30 Cut my Grass at the fountain house 

August. 15 had the first Earley Ann Peach 

October thc 17 Sot out for Washington 

January lh 31, 1S29 Japan Rose in blossom 

April lh 27 planted the Dwarf Imperial Pea 

May th 22 first Passion flower in blossom 

October, 22, Soed the field of Rye Soed one bushel of rye one 
peck of Red top & \ a peck of herds grass. 

March th 26, 1S30 highest tide that ever knoun 

1S31 March 2S Wall Peach in blosson 

April 15 Grafted Some Cherry Stocks 

December th 7 Picked Rose in blossom out a doors 

October 27 1S31 the Carpenters Finished the shingled of the 
buildings &c 


August 20 Soed turnips in the field 

Sept 14 1S32 first frost Glass 32 

August th 4 1S34 Soed the buckwheat 

Sept 29 1834 had the first frost in the Garden very heavy 

May 21 st 1836 Quince tree in Blossom 

June 27 Planted Some Sweet Corn 

May 31 1S37 Quince tree in Blossom 

List of Crisanithum for 1838 
No I White 

No II Yallow , 

No III Buff 

These two are from the second book — 

November 28, 1S26 Mr. Bigelow Sot Sail for Giberalter 
Nov. 5 1 83 1 began to take care of Mrs. Grays horses in the 

In this book were kept private accounts, money re- 
ceived for his labor, generally paid by Andrew Bigelow, 
and the sum paid for household expenses. One sees 
what he paid for Andrew's hat, Henry's shoes, that he 
paid Miss Wier for school for Eliza, $3.67 ; for a testa- 
ment, 50 cents; for pew rent to Mr. Floyd, the sexton, 
and who appears to have followed many callings, $; 
for a pair of mittens, 63 cents; a bible man, 87 cents. 
The prices of staple goods are a surprise to us who know 

72 A MEDFORD GARDEN. [October, 

at this time the high cost of living: tea, 58 cents per lb.; 
loam, 50 cents a load; molasses, $7 cents per gallon; 
cider, $2.00 a barrell; apples, $1.67 and $1.25; corn, 
55 cents per bushel; butter, 15 and 16 cents; chips, 
$1.25 per load; goose, 33 cents ; shoes, $1.25; hats, $1.00 
and $2.00; shad, 53 cents; pork, S and 10 cents; broom, 
28 cents. 

One learns who some of the townspeople were and the 
occupations they engaged in : Mr. Gleason sold hats, 
shoes; Mr. Cutter sold meat; Mr. Lock sold meat; Mr. 
Emerson sold meat; Mr. Symmes did iron work; Mr. 
Barker did papering; Mr. Stow did painting, glazing; 
Mr. Clough did hooping; Mr. Floyd carted chips and 
sold pigs; Captain Burridge sold hay, for which he re- 
ceived $13.00, to Mr. F. Bigelow, for whom he often 
bought cider; he sold plants, Mrs. Gray, Miss Train and 
Mrs. P. Swan being among his customers. 

How it did fret the soul of Margaret Tufts, who mar- 
ried Samuel Swan, that she was always called Mrs. Peggy 
Swan when her sisters-in-law were punctiliously called 
by their husbands' names. Mrs. Peggy had the name, 
however, of being a very handsome woman. 

The gardener is said to have lived in a house on the 
Bigelow grounds. His expense account shows payments 
for rent quarterly, $12.50 and $10.00 respectively, to 
Captain Ward and Mr. Bucknam. He may, sometime, 
have lived in the Fountain house, for he owned the east 
half, and two and one-half acres of land on the Salem 
road extending to Fulton street that he cultivated as a 
farm. His second note-book frequently notes the plant- 
ing of his own land and the pasturing of his cows. This 
opens up to us the rural aspect of Medford. Many resi- 
dents enjoyed the luxury of keeping a cow. Mr. Bur- 
ridge attended to the pasturing of Mr. Bigelow's, Mr. 
Stetson's (the minister), and Mr. Train's cows, having 
them sometimes in the Hall pasture, again in the Roach 
pasture, and on his own land. Captain Adams' man 
often worked for the gardener, who supplied him with 


dinners and lunches, for which the captain was duly 

Mr. Burridge joined the Massachusetts Horticultural 
Society on December 17, 1831, and he exhibited for his 
employer many fine fruits and vegetables, as the records 
of the society attest. 

Sept. 19-21, 1S3S. "From Mrs. T. Bigelow of Medford. Apples — 
Monstrous Pippin, and beautiful specimens of Red 
apples from France. Peaches — Some fine specimens. 
Grapes — Fine Chasselas, and Black Hamburgh, Shad- 
docks, very large, from her greenhouse, (a variety of 
Citrus or Orange tree)." 

Sept. 28, 183S (?) '* Seven years Pumpkin, from Mrs. Timothy 
Bigelow, Medford. (The above, the growth of last 
year, and shown at the annual exhibition of 1S37.) 
Weight 46 lbs. in perfect condition, and it is said will 
remain sound for seven years." 

Shaddocks were named for the sea captain who intro- 
duced them into this country and were formerly rare. 
Today they are the grape-fruit so commonly used at our 

This fact throws some light on the entry made Decem- 
ber 17, 1827, for the size of the lemon seemed to be 
enormous, a tale worthy of Baron Munchausen. The 
citrus genus includes the orange, lemon, lime, and grape- 


Medford has been in the vanguard many a time, and 
it is pleasant to know that when the Massachusetts Horti- 
cultural Society was formed, among the original (one 
hundred and thirty-eight) members who subscribed be- 
fore the organization of the society, March 17, 1829, that 
the name of Samuel Train of this town is found. During 
the first fifty years of the society's life the following citi- 
zens enrolled in the membership: — 

1829 Dr. Samuel Swan. ^Z J onn King. 

1829 George Thompson. 1831 Capt. Martin Burridge. 

1S30 Dudley Hall. 1834 Nathaniel H. Bishop. 


William B. Whitcomb, 
Ellen M. Gill (Mrs.) 
Mrs. Samuel Joyce. 
Edward Kakas. 
Francis Thieler. 
S. R. Roberts. 
Dr. H. H. Pillsburv. 
William C. Child. 
James W. Tufts. 
Japhet Sherman. 
George S. Buss. 
Benj. F. Morrison. 
William H. Northey. 
Alonzo E. Tainter. 
Charles Garfield. 

In 1 84 1 Mrs. Lucy Bigelow, widow of Timothy, was 
made an honorary member, an honor shared, up to 1879, 
with five other women. Of the above only Mrs. Ellen 
M. Gill is now living (August 22, 191 8). Enfeebled by 
age, her active work in the society has ceased. E. M. G. 


Edmund T. Hastings, Jr. 



Nathaniel Whiting. 

. 1S65 


John 11. Bacon. 



Robert Bacon. 

1 see 


George E: Adams. 


1 85 1 

Charles Hall. 


lS 55 

S. B. Ferry. 



George L. Stearns. 



James Bean. 



Peter C. Hall. 



Caroline B. Chase (Mrs.) 



David W. Lothrop. 



Francis Brooks. 



Joshua T. Foster. 

lS 73 


J. Q. A. Griffin. 


In 1805 Timothy Bigelow, with a party of gentlemen, 
made a tour by stage to Niagara Falls. Starting from 
Boston, they passed over the usual routes of travel, re- 
turning by way of Montreal and Lake Champlain, thus 
enjoying the pleasure of travel by water. Mr. Bigelow 
left the party at Groton, where he then resided, and the 
others went on to Boston by stage. The trip took six 
weeks, and they traveled over thirteen hundred miles. 

Mr. Bigelow kept a journal, noting each day's prog- 
ress, the inns at which they stayed, the kind of accom- 
modations offered guests, the conditions of the country, 
business situations, and the people met. Of scenery and 
the great natural curiosity which prompted the trip he 
wrote minutely. His manuscript, lost for many years, 
was found and compiled for publication by a grandson 

* For brief accounts of his distinguished family and fine place the reader is 
referred to articles in the Register as follows: Vol. V, p. 49; Vol. VII, 
p. 29 ; Vol. VII, p. 65 ; Vol. XIII, p. 73 and p. 83. 


in 1876. A copy of a "Journal of a Tour to Niagara 
Falls in the Year 1805 by Timothy Bigelow," is in our 
public library, but the one the writer was privileged to 
use bore the following inscription, in a free, manly hand- 
writing: — 

Martin Burridge Esq,. 

with the kind regards of 

Abbott Lawrence 

April 17™ 1S77 

The following, from the introduction, adds a little more 
to our knowledge of the man, and shows the taste, energy 
and genius that enabled him to create the most elegant 
estate, though not the largest, that has been in the center 
of Medford : — 

He had strong rural tastes, and was active in establishing and 
conducting the- Association of the Middlesex Husbandmen. He 
took great delight in horticulture, and may claim with others the 
merit of stimulating a taste which is associated no less with science 
than with pleasure. His grounds on the banks of the Mystic were 
famous for their beauty at that day, and long continued to be a 
conspicuous ornament of the town of Medford. While reading 
law in Worcester, in early manhood, the garden plot around the 
family homestead was embellished by him with such flowers and 
plants as could be obtained at that period. The same passion he 
naturally carried with him to Groton, and there, on taking posses- 
sion of his house and farm, a well-chosen spot of ground was taste- 
fully laid out, both for family uses and for pleasing and ornamental 
effects. His orchard, in connection with the garden, contained 
not only the common, but the rare varieties of fruit trees, making 
it altogether the best of the village and neighborhood. After his 
removal to Medford, in procuring trees he was fortunate in having 
the assistance of his friend and old-time client, the elder Theodore 
Lyman, whose tastes were similar to his own, and who often sent 
from his Waltham nurseries standard stock trees, with a man to 
plant them, and furnished him with the first espalier which covered 
his fruit wall. 

Today the garden, now owned by Mrs. Mary Tufts, 
has something of the aspect the garden had years ago. 
The terraces are the same, the foundations of the green- 
house are the old ones used by Timothy Bigelow, the 
frames only being new, and the brick wall between the 


Magoun estate on the east and the wall on the west by 
the land of Grace church are the same. This was the 
upper garden. The lot of Mrs. Prescott was an orchard, 
and for many years after her father purchased it a large 
greening apple tree yielded fine fruit. The garden of 
today, although a pleasant spot, does not show the ele- 
gance of the one a hundred years ago, for that was a 
wealth of shrubbery, plants and trees, and the greenhouse 
was filled with rare plants, and trees were trained on the 
brick walls. 

The fame Timothy Bigelow had as an expert in raising 
fine fruits and vegetables was in part due to his able and 
faithful gardener, Martin Burridge. 

Some of the following facts and dates have been stated 
in papers mentioned in previous Registers. Timothy 
Bigelow died in 1821, his wife in 1852. A son and 
daughter, both unmarried, from that time lived hermit 
lives in the old home. They were eccentric, and lived 
in a wretched way, shutting themselves away from both 
stranger and friend. The place had a gloomy aspect, 
for the house was nearly surrounded by pine trees, and 
they filled the space from the street to house and had 
grown so large that the street was dark and so muddy 
that the neighbors rejoiced when they were cut down 
and sunlight flooded the space. 

Miss Bigelow died in 1865, and her brother sought a 
home elsewhere. The story is current that among her 
effects were found seventeen bandboxes, each containing 
a bonnet and a veil. To clear the house of the accumu- 
lation of years was a great piece of work. A fine dress 
is said to have served some misses of the town many 
times for a fancy dress costume. 

The townspeople were accustomed to speak of Mr. 
Bigelow as " Speaker Bigelow." The house was a two- 
story, broad wooden structure. A broad walk led from 
the front door to the street, meeting it in a deep curve. 

In 1865 the estate was advertised for sale. It was 
divided into three lots. The middle one was purchased 


in 1S67 by Ellen Shepherd Brooks, who, on the site of 
the Bigelow house, erected Grace Church. The east lot 
was bought by the late James W. Tufts, who built his 
residence there. This comprised the upper and lower 
garden. The lower one extended in terraces to the 
river and was separated from the upper by a brick re- 
taining wall ten feet or more high, on which fruit trees 
were trained. Later, Mr. Tufts bought the west lot and 
erected the house occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Prescott. 

When that wonderfully odd plant, the night-blooming 
cereus, on the place, unfolded its sweet flowers, the Bige- 
lows were accustomed to invite their friends to witness 
the sight. 

Our Medford Pepys,* comparing the town's first two 
lawyers, left this record : " Mr. Bigelow wished to have 
credit for wit and brilliant repartee, and in company 
sought to encounter Mr. Bartlett, but Mr. Bartlett's 
mind was more brilliant, and Mr. Bigelow generally 
came off second best." E. M. G. 


The family of Martin Burridge was descended from 
English stock found in Seething, Norfolk county. Rob- 
ert, the first ancestor of whom there is any record, was 
there early in the sixteenth century. John, a great- 
grandson, became the emigrant ancestor, coming to 
Charlestown about 1637. One of his sons took Bur- 
ridge, and another Burrage, as the form for the family 
name, and their descendants respectively have followed 
the standard set for them. This line is successively 
traced from Charlestown to Newton, Concord, Lunen- 
burg, where John of the ninth generation married Lois 
Barthrick of that town in 1781. His brother Jonathan 
married Lois' sister Sally. Hannah (sister of John and 
Jonathan of Lunenburg) married Samuel Buel of Med- 
ford, August 22, 1799. John was a soldier in the war 

* Caleb Swan. 


of the Revolution. About 1800 he came to Medford, 
where he died, July 20, 1822. 

Mr. Francis Converse of Medford, meeting someone 
by the name of Burridge in Boston, where he traded, 
asked if he was related to the late John Burridge of 
Medford, saying, "It would be an honor to be, for he 
was a very worthy man, greatly respected in Medford 
by all who knew him." 

While here, John Burridge followed the occupation 
of gardener. His family consisted of six sons and one 
daughter. Only such will be considered here as were 
connected with Medford. At the time he moved here 
his oldest child was eighteen, the youngest an infant. 

John, the second son, married Rebecca Greenleaf of 
this town, February 13, 181 2. His branch is extinct. 

Betsey, or Elizabeth, married, May 11, 1814, David 
Bucknam of Medford. Mrs. Bucknam kept a private 
school, and among family papers is a reward of merit 
given by her to her niece Eliza, daughter of Martin. 
Many teachers of that time gave home-made merits, but 
this is a printed one, as a line at the bottom attests, 
" Sold by N. S. Simpkins & Co. Court street Boston." 
It is in black and white, at the top a picture of a big dog 
and a small boy, below two verses (rather serious for a 
child) on the " Improvement of Time." It is not a work 
of art, nor has it much to charm a child. 

Martin, the fifth child, born July 27, 1793, married 
Eliza Withington, September 8, 18 16. She was an aunt 
of Assessor Henry Withington, who died. January 21, 
1 9 18. There were five children by this marriage. Notice 
their names, for they indicate hero worship or esteem for 
the employer's family and the good doctor of the town: 
Andrew Bigelow, John Brooks, Katharine Lawrence. 
Did this little girl, who bore the name of a distinguished 
family, ever dream she would become possessed of great 
wealth? Let us thank her for the gift she, in woman- 
hood, gave her native town for four-footed friends — the 
stone drinking fountain on Salem street, near its junc- 
tion with Spring, inscribed, 


The Gift of Mrs. K. L. S. Teele 

Mrs. Burridge died December 7, 1839. 

Mr. Burridge married for his second wife Hannah 
Pratt, May 7, 1840, who died December 12, 1876. He 
died at his home in Maiden, October 27, 1879. To the 
last he loved flowers, and his whole life was spent in the 
occupation of gardening. A granddaughter and two 
great-grandchildren are living in Medford, and two other 
great-grandchildren, with their children, have moved to- 
ward the West to found homes, one to the far-away 
Pacific. E. M. G. 


Martin Burridge's brother-in-law 7 , Henry Withington 
(the second of the name in this town, and father of the 
late assessor), enjoyed telling, so the latter informed the 
writer, that he was once a scullion in Timothy Bigelow's 
kitchen. Whatever his service or position there, without 
doubt he had an experience that enabled him, when he 
entered into the bakery business, to supply his townsmen 
with superior products. 

Who does not love to recall that little old shop, than 
which nothing in story or reality was quainter nor more 
alluring. Small, low studded, with beamed ceiling, it 
looked antique in every particular, with the tiny desk 
on the wall w T here one stood or perched on a high stool 
to cast up his accounts. You might enter sometime 
and find no one to attend to your wants, but a bell on 
the door as you opened it had given notice of your enter- 
ing, and very soon someone opened a glass door of a 
living-room at the west, stepped down two steps, and 
waited upon you; ,or perhaps he came in from some old 
room or odd corner at the north. 

Little children used to wonder where the yeast came 
from as they handed up a pail or bottle for a penny's 
worth, and they spent their pennies for the few sweet 


things the shop carried, Gibraltars, and a large, white, 
flat cocoanut cake with a pink piece in the middle that 
seemed to them the tie plus ultra of toothsomeness. 
Their elders enjoyed the good brownbread, buns, and 
brick loaves, and when they went to spend a day in the 
country, carried a supply to their friends, who, living far 
from a bakery, esteemed Medford bread and buns a 

Grown men, once pupils at the Hathaway school, 
came to the town with their young sons to buy cocoa- 
nut cakes for them such as they bought in school-boy days. 
The smell of fresh baked crackers was enough to revive 
a fainting man, and Medfordites went thronging to the 
shop, the days they were baked, with big baskets and 
little baskets, and thought there was no better lunch 
than crackers right from the oven with plenty of good 
sweet butter. 

In the earlier days this shop was smaller and more 
alluring than it was when torn down, for the portion 
east of the entrance door was an unfinished room where 
barrels and barrels of crackers were packed. The house, 
a close companion of the shop, was very antique, espe- 
cially in the rooms at the back, and we really know but 
little about its age and history, as but little has been said 
of the interior of the old house, but much of the story of 
the business of the firm has been printed. 

____ E- M. G. 


When the United States finally declared war against 
Germany in April, 191 7, the entire country sprang into 
activity, and entered eagerly into ways and means for 
"preparedness." The nation went into one vast com- 
mittee of the whole, subdivided into national, state, city, 
town, village, and hamlet branches. These organiza- 
tions bore the expressive and comprehensive title of 
Committee on Public Safety. 

Medford's committee was organized in April, 19 17. 


The general committee was composed of three hundred 
and twenty- five members, with an executive committee 
of nine. Mr. Irwin O. Wright was elected chairman and 
much of the successful work of the committee has been 
due to his wise patience and tactful judgment. 

The following sub-committees were created: finance, 
co-ordination of aid societies, food production and con- 
servation, publicity, hygiene and medicine, transporta- 
tion, home guard, recruiting. 

All work is done under the following declaration: " The 
declared purpose is to serve the people of Medford in all 
matters incident to the war that do not come within the 
scope of the regularly constituted national, state or city 

The expenses of the work for the first months was de- 
frayed by voluntary contributions of the public. This 
was the plan followed by most of the cities and towns, 
many places giving thousands of dollars for the purpose. 
The second year Medfords city government made an 
appropriation to carry on the work of the committee, 
having a regular office, with a paid secretary and assistant, 
the purpose of the executive committee being to make the 
office a clearing house for the varied war activities. Mr. 
James A. Cotting was elected secretary, and Miss Alice 
Bearse assistant. In the absence of actual hostile emer- 
gencies, which as yet have not been thrust upon us, the 
Committee on Public Safety has taken up the more im- 
mediate local needs of the community: food, fuel, public 
health, liberty loans, information regarding Medford 
soldiers, etc. 

The winter of 191 7-18 will long be remembered as 
one of intense severity. Coupled with the cold weather 
was a scarcity of coal, and the local fuel committee was 
obliged to issue coal cards for one hundred pounds each, 
in order to secure an equitable distribution. Towards 
twenty thousand of these cards were issued. During the 
past summer the State assumed control of sugar. For 
preserving purposes, cards for twenty-five pounds or less 


were given on application at the public safety office. 
More than five thousand cards were issued. 

It is the purpose of the office to keep in touch with all 
matters of public interest and welfare. It works under 
the authority of the State and is the medium through 
which the wishes and commands of the State commis- 
sions are promulgated. 

Mr. Cotting severed his connection with the committee 
in July last, to enter Y. M. C. A. work over seas. The 
Dresent secretary is Charles H. Loomis. 

_____ C ' H ' L * 

At various meetings of the Historical Society, papers 
have been read relative to the church history of Med- 
ford, and all such have been preserved in pages of the 
Register. They tell the story of the various religious 
societies, seven in number, that were first of their order 
in the old town. These have been succeeded by four 
others of the same order, later organized. There are 
still others, perhaps a dozen, whose history should be a 
matter of printed record, that as yet have not been thus 
presented. As a matter of record, we take occasion here 
to mention, ere facts are lost sight of, the 

West Medford Christian Union. 

Mr. Hooper, in his brief " History of Medford," is the 
only author that mentions it as a society under this cap- 
tion, giving its meeting place, and names of four ministers. 

Mr. Usher (on page 276) in treating of the West Med- 
ford Congregational church, said, the " Union was formed 
for the support of public religious worship; and preach- 
ing services were held Sunday morning and evening in 
Mvstic Hall." 

Mr. David H. Brown (in Vol. XI, p. 24, Register) said, 
44 December 1, 1907, was the fortieth anniversary of pub- 
lic religious services in West Medford," named Mystic 
hall as the place, but did not give the name of the 


preacher. This makes the date specific — December i, 
1867 — agreeing as to the year with Mr. Hooper, but 
placing it earlier than Mr. Usher, who is correct in his 
statement that " there was no church organization." 

As this "Christian Union" formed a connecting link 
between the earlier and later organized churches of 
various orders in Medford, it is of interest that its brief 
history be preserved. 

In 1865 Medford had a population of 4,S39; in 1S70, 
5,717; it is safe to assume that in December, 1867, a 
little rising 5,000. Its outlying villages were East Med- 
ford (now called Glenwood) and West Medford, the latter 
the larger, more residential, with possibly 500 people, 
and with the advantage of a hall where public gatherings 
could be held. 

For some two years there had been a neighborhood 
Sunday school, and from this effort for the children grew 
that of a public service for their elders. It is a matter 
of doubt if there are still any residents living who at- 
tended that first gathering in 1867. Mr. Brown must 
have had some data from which to make his statement, 
but he was not a resident in 1867. 

The present writer first attended its services on July 9, 
1870, and thereafter was conversant with facts and writes 
from personal knowledge. Fie has already (some years 
since) given in our pages an account of that occasion in 
a paper on " West Medford in 1870." The Union was 
a neighborhood affair which was expected in time to 
grow into a Protestant church of some order, or possibly 
a " Union church," hence the appropriate name in some 
way adopted. It may be that sometime records that 
must have been kept may be found, and give more accu- 
rate information. We have been told that such were 
deposited in the office of the town clerk, but recent re- 
search among the city records therefor has been fruitless. 

Up to April, 1870, Rev. Melville B. Chapman, a stu- 
dent in Boston University, supplied its pulpit. He was 
of the Methodist Episcopal order, was much liked by 


the people, and at the above date was, by his bishop, 
appointed minister of his church in Wakefield, Mass. 
He in later years achieved success and prominence in 
the Christian ministry, making a good beginning with 
the " Union " in West Medford. He was succeeded by 
Rev. Louis E. Charpiot, a French gentleman of much 
ability and many excellent qualities, who had been pastor 
of a Congregational church in Stratfield, Conn., but was 
just then engaged in journalism upon the Nation, pub- 
lished in Boston by James M. Usher. The latter, recog- 
nizing his ability, was instrumental in bringing him to 
West Medford. 

Mr. Usher, in the history above quoted, says truly of 
the "Union," "As there was no church organization the 
arrangement was not wholly satisfactory." Mr. Charpiot 
preached twice on Sunday, attended and conducted a 
class in the independent Sunday school in the afternoon, 
and for some time tried the experiment of a mid-week 
prayer service on Thursday evening. This latter was 
but slightly attended, as the more zealous church mem- 
bers attended the like gatherings in the Medford churches 
with which they were connected. The Sabbath gather- 
ings made a good showing (for the capacity of the hall) 
and were a convenience for the older people and those 
not actively engaged in church work. 

In 1870 some building operations commenced and 
new comers were in evidence. A weekly paper in Med- 
ford began publication in December,. and the following, 
clipped from its issue of February 11, 1871, shows that 
interest was being taken in the matter of a village 
meeting-house: — 


* We announced, two weeks since, that if the ground could be 
secured and the material furnished, Mr. John H. Norton would do 
all the work for the erection of a meeting-house, to be located in 
West Medford, without charge — all as a free gift. 

This week we are happy to be able to inform our readers that 
the gentlemen who have recently purchased the Smith estate, and 
who are making many improvements which all rejoice to see, have 


authorized us to say that they will give the land for a meeting- 
house. That's noble! Messrs. Story, Judkins and Holton never 
were behind hand in good deeds. Three cheers for the friends that 
make this generous offer! Now who will have the honor of giving 
the stock? Who? We shall be glad to announce the name next 
week. Three cheers and a tiger for the man, whoever he may be ! 

The following month there appeared in the same 
Medford Journal a communication that was both his- 
tory and appeal, under date of March iS: — 

Editor of the Journal: — Will you allow me to say a few 
words in relation to the West Medford Christian Union Society: 

That organization has now been in existence for about three 
years, and from the start it has done well, the last year, especially, 
being of unusual interest. Mystic Hall has been tilled every Sun- 
day with attentive audiences, and the Sunday school embraces 
nearly all the children in the place. In fact the Hall has become 
altogether too small for the purposes of the Society, and for some 
time past the question of building a suitable house of worship has 
been seriously agitated by the people in West Medford. 

The annual meeting of the Society is to be held next Monday 
evening in Mystic Hall, and my object in sending you this com- 
munication is, through your valuable paper, to remind the people 
in the neighborhood of that fact. There should be a full attendance 
at that meeting, and decided measures should be taken about erect- 
ing a suitable place in which to hold religious services. Now is 
the time to act. West Medford is growing, the people are a church- 
going people, and this part of the town would be greatly helped by 
having a meeting-house. Aside from the influence which it would 
have upon the people themselves, every property-holder knows that 
the value of his property would be thereby enhanced, and a good 
church would help much towards attracting, in the neighborhood, 
the right kind of people that would truly build up the place. 

Let me say again that never was there a time more propitious 
than the present for such an undertaking. Besides the fact that 
the land and the labor of the builder have been offered free of ex- 
pense, the Society never was in a better situation than now. Both 
the Sunday services and the Sunday school are full, and the pastor, 
Rev. Louis E. Charpiot, has been very faithful and remarkably 

Will not the people turn out on Monday evening next, and let 
the Society's business be promptly done? Union. 

This was immediately followed by an editorial notice: 


An Important Meeting in West Medford. 

We gladly publish the above communication about the West 
Medford Christian Union, to which we call the earnest attention of 
our readers in that growing part of our town. 

The people in West Medford have done remarkably well in 
establishing and keeping up religious services in their neighbor- 
hood, and they deserve much credit for it. By that means many 
have attended church who would not have done so otherwise, and 
the foundation has been laid for a large and prosperous society. 
The time is come, however, in which they should do the next thing, 
that is, build a church, and we shall be much mistaken in the enter- 
prise and earnestness of the West Medford people if they do not 
take measures for the accomplishment of that project at their meet- 
ing next Monday evening. We understand that all in West Med- 
ford who are interested in the matter are entitled to take part in 
the meeting and earnestly urged to attend it. A church in West 
Medford would be just the thing for that part of the town, and we 
hope to see its spire and hear its bell before long. 

The writer attended the annual meeting thus alluded 
to, and can witness that the Journal man's report of the 
same, which followed on March 25, is correct: — 

West Medford Christian Union. 

The annual meeting of the West Medford Christian Union was 
held in Mystic Hall last Monday evening. Mr. A. B. Morss was 
elected Chairman, and S. S. Leavitt served as Secretary. The re- 
port of the Clerk and Treasurer w r as presented, showing the society 
to be in a sound condition financially. The report was unanimously 
accepted. Messrs. Farwell, Stevens, McLean, Mann and Ritchie 
w r ere elected to serve as an Executive Committee for the ensuing 

It was voted that the thanks of the society be presented to the 
Pastor, Rev. Mr. Charpiot, for the able and faithful manner in 
which he has discharged the duties of his office, and that he be 
invited to remain with us another year. 

The Executive Committee were instructed to confer with the 
proprietors of the "Smith Estate" in regard to the land which they 
had kindly offered to donate to the society to build upon, and to 
report at the adjourned meeting. Mr. John H. Norton repeated 
his munificent offer to build a church provided the materials were 
furnished, and there seem to be good grounds for believing that this 
much needed enterprise will now go forward to completion. 

Messrs. J. W. Wilson, E. W. Cross, and S. S. Leavitt were 


selected as a committee to solicit subscriptions to maintain preach- 
ing during the coming year. Mr. Leavitt was re-elected Treasurer. 
The meeting was adjourned to next Monday evening. 

We recall that Mr. Leavitt began his duty at once by 
asking each one present, " How much will you do for 
the cause of the Lord this year?" and made note of 
their replies. 

There was considerable interest manifested at first in 
the project. Several meetings were held, and the execu- 
tive committee went to view newly erected church build- 
ings in Everett and Stoneham as models for the one 
proposed. The land owners put no condition of denomi- 
nation upon their proposed gift, neither did Mr. Norton 
upon his. The land owners selected and offered the 
site of present Trinity church, but there were those that 
wanted a location "on the other side of the railroad," 
regardless of the fact that the village was to grow in the 
other direction. 

Just at this time the Baptists and Methodists at Med- 
ford began new church building plans, and as the modern 
summer vacation had just come in vogue, the project 
was laid over till autumn. The executive committee 
found that in the raising of funds people were not ready 
to accept the idea of a " Union church " with no recog- 
nized denomination to sustain it. Mr. Usher, in the 
history already quoted from, said, " several plans for a 
church (meaning organization) were considered and given 
up, when a few citizens thought a Congregational church 
could be supported if an organization was effected." 
Some others, of the Baptist order, went so far as to issue 
a warrant calling 4i a meeting of the First Baptist church 
in West Medford," but nothing came of it. 

During the summer Mr. Charpiot became the victim 
of some unscrupulous persons who took advantage of 
his inherited tendencies and brought him to West Med- 
ford in a helpless and pitiable condition. Feeling this 
disgrace deeply, he resigned his ministry and left town. 
It should be said here that he later rallied from the evil 


effects of the same, went into work for others thus 
afflicted, achieved success therein, married again, and 
until his death, some years later, was much respected 
and beloved. 

Directly there was a "sociable " held in Mystic Hall 
to forward the enterprise. It was largely attended, and 
probably the first gathering of the kind in that part of 
the town. Refreshments were lavishly provided, and the 
following afternoon a similar gathering was held for the 

With Mr. Charpiot's removal several families with- 
drew both attendance and support, and the congregation 
gradually decreased. The committee supplied the pulpit 
by clergymen of various denominations — Unitarian, 
Universalist, Methodist, Baptist — but there was the 
feeling that the continuous service of some one preacher 
was desirable. With this in view, in November, the 
Rev. William Edwards Huntington was secured by the 
committee which, by the resignation of Mr. Ritchie and 
election of Mr. C. E. Hippisley, consisted of one Uni- 
tarian, one Baptist and three Methodists. 

With the prevailing feeling that a " Union church " 
would be impracticable, and that an active church of 
some denomination should take up the work, this action 
was a logical and natural sequence. 

Mr. Huntington was about to graduate from Boston 
University, of which he was in after years the honored 
president. He served as his predecessors had done, by 
preaching twice each Sabbath, but as the so-called Chris- 
tian Union was not a church, did not enter into pastoral 
work. Though the Methodists began in October to 
hold class meetings, organized by the pastor of the First 
M. E. Church of Medford, Mr. Huntington was in no 
way connected with them. 

Thus the year continued until the time of an annual 
meeting, which was held in the evening of April i, 1872, 
twenty-two persons being present. By this time the 
class meeting of the Methodists had resulted in the or- 


ganization of a church of that order, and steps had been 
taken in the same direction by the Congregational peo- 
ple, both expecting to begin their services in Mystic hall. 
It is somewhat significant of existing conditions that at 
this meeting, after the former committee had been re- 
elected but declined to serve, a new executive committee 
was chosen for six months. The use of Mystic hall had 
at first been given the Union, and on change of owner- 
ship the same condition continued, the new owners say- 
ing, " You can have it as long as you wish it." * 

The minority voters in that last annual meeting ceased 
regular attendance under the new management, and on 
June 12 the West Medford Congregational church was, 
by a "Council," recognized. 

The election of committee for six months may be 
readily understood when we read a subsequent state- 
ment — "The organization was continued till October, 
1872, when the West Medford Congregational Society 
was ready to do business." (Vol. XIII, p. 28, Register.) 
That there was some feeling over said action is indi- 
cated, as we read, " Years have passed away. . . . Any 
difference or unpleasantness that may have been then 
are outgrown." (Register, Vol. XIV, p. 33.) 

A few words concerning the Union's meeting place 
may be of interest. Mystic hall was also the rallying 
place of the Lyceum and Library Association, and had 
been the home of Mrs. Smith's somewhat famous semi- 
nary (1854-1858). For public use its furnishings were 
simple. The platform (two steps high), said to be en- 
closed by the panel-work of the seminary organ, was laid 
with a red carpet, and had upon it a haircloth sofa and 
a chestnut pulpit with walnut mouldings, the work of 
some village carpenter. There were two large cases of 

* That the land owners, who also owned Mystic hall, made their offer in 
good faith is shown by the fact that in the following years, when the two re- 
sultant churches were erected, the company, in the persons of the two latter 
named, assisted in the purchase of land to the extent of S2.860.0O. Mr. Nor- 
ton was the largest contributor to the erection of the Congregational church 
edifice, and later the donor of its parsonage and land. 


similar construction at the rear of the room, filled with 
books of the association's library. In the other corner 
was a cylinder stove of the 1850 style. About six feet 
high, it was famous for its heating qualities, and now, 
after forty-eight years more, for its longevity, as it is still 
in commission " at the old stand." • Wooden settees, some 
painted, perhaps relics of the seminary, with others of 
later introduction, stained with the umber of human con- 
tact, seated the attendants. An ornamental chandelier, 
originally with glass prism pendants, held four kerosene 
lamps. There was also a shaded lamp for the pulpit. 
As there were no collections (this was before the days 
of ''weekly offerings") there were no "contribution 
boxes," as the term used to be. A cabinet organ, loaned 
by some interested one, completed the furnishings of the 
room, which was well finished and lighted by six large 
unshaded windows. 

It would be interesting to trace the fate of such of 
these articles as are not there still in use. Suffice it to 
say, that the "pulpit" was in later years in evidence 
as a desk or counter in a West Medford paint shop. 

Four West Medford churches, Congregational, Uni- 
versalist, Baptist and Shiloh, have been served by these 
and similar in this same Mystic hall. 
• Reference has been made to records of the Christian 
Union. Could such be found, more accurate statement 
of its final dissolution might be written. Till then, Mr. 
Hooper's statement is fitting: — 

This Society retained its organization until 1872, when its lead- 
ing member's took measures to form themselves into separate 

The records of such show Trinity (Methodist Episco- 
pal), April 1, 1872; West Medford Congregational, 
June 12, 1872. These are the first of the new order. 
Their half century mark is nearing. The West Medford 
Christian Union prepared the way. 

M. W. M. 

1918.1 91 


As a matter of history, be it noted that Med ford has 
"gone dry*' (this in 1914) in the matter of public water- 
ing places for horses. Within the memory of our oldest 
people the principal highways passed through Meeting- 
house, Gravelly and Whitmore brooks, as well as over 
their various bridges. There horses and cattle could 
drink or the family carriage be washed. Mr. Woollcy 
has preserved a view of the first-named in his picture of 
the second meeting-house. 

Time was when the town-pump was indispensable and 
its condition carefully noted by the fire engineers. To 
such, a necessary adjunct was the old-time watering- 
trough, kept full by the laborious effort of each comer, 
though some thoughtless ones did not fill it. After Spot 
pond water was introduced, the old troughs disappeared 
and "drinking fountains "of various patterns were in- 
stalled. In the square, and at West Medford, a big iron 
vase with a lamp-post rising from its center made an orna- 
mental feature, but was too frail to withstand the shock 
of the heavy pole of a two-horse truck. The former 
gave place to a circular and substantial structure of 
granite, and the latter to a section of heavy water-main set 
upright in the ground and partially filled with concrete. 
At Winthrop square and at corner of Salem and Spring 
streets were triangular granite blocks nearly four feet 
high, which saved the need of alighting to uncheck the 
horse. The latter is referred to on another page, and in 
verifying its date a visit was made to the Water Depart- 
ment's "graveyard." It still remains intact, but inverted 
among the remains of various others. In reply to in- 
quiry, the courteous registrar said, " Oh ! Medford wasn't 
up-to-date," and explained that in 19 14 the Bureau of 
Animal Industries requested the closing of all such 
watering places because of the prevalence of glanders, 
and consequent dangers to horses. 

This was done, and after a time, for various reasons, 


all were removed and faucets provided at accessible 
places where teamsters can procure water in their own 
pails. Thus, now even the horse has his individual 
drinking cup, the watering-trough is a thing of the past, 
and Medford, in this at least, is " up-to-date." 

The Register has in previous issues alluded to the mod- 
ernizing of Medford square. There is, however, one side 
that changes but little. It still has the substantial dwell- 
ing and store quarters erected at the close of the Revolu- 
tion by Jonathan Porter, first occupied by him, next by 
his son George Washington Porter, and is still owned by 
one of his descendants. By courtesy of the present occu- 
pant, the Medford Publishing Company, a view' of it is 
given in our frontispiece. This view is reproduced from a 
daguerreotype taken about midway in its history, (?.*., in 
the early fifties), by Wilkinson, the Medford artist who 
was sometime housed therein. The building stands upon 
the site of the " Royal Oak Tavern " of colonial days, which 
stood on or very near the site of the " f erme-house " erected 
by Cradock's men in 1630. At the time of taking this 
view but few changes had been made in the building, those 
made needful by the erection of the brick structure which 
had been built against its southern end. The roof was 
extended against the higher brick wall and an entrance 
and staircase made beneath, at present 6 Main street. 
The grade of Main street had been raised about two feet, 
the big willow r tree removed, and the stone pillar (called 
Howe's folly) across the street by the town hall shows 
in the view. Now, after about a hundred and thirty years, 
this substantial old house, one of the best in the Medford 
of its time, takes on a new lease of life by its housing of 
the "art preservative." Its first owner was the tavern 
keeper in the years that preceded and during the Revolu- 
tion. The old sign with the emblems of royalty and the 
royal motto Dieu et ?non droit, suffered at the hands of the 


minute-men as they came back from Lexington, and was 
taken down. That the tavern ceased to be the " Royal 
Oak " is shown by a letter, still preserved, written by 
Rogers, the New Hampshire "Ranger" in 1775 from 
" Porter's tavern in Medford." Within a few weeks one 
of his descendants has been here in Medford to see the 
location and also the Royall house, and to tread over the 
route taken by her ancestor. 

After the war, which seems to have left Porter in bet- 
ter circumstances than it did others, as shown by the erec- 
tion of this house, he engaged in a general merchandise 
business which included the necessaries of life, "West In- 
dia Goods and Groceries." So did his son, and the long- 
line of their successors down to date. It is also noticeable 
that in the newer building adjoining, the present occupant 
also succeeds several others in the same line as his own. 
Inspection of the view will show that at the other end, 
about a dozen feet have been removed in the widening 
of old Ship street. At that time the artistic front door, 
the big chimney and capacious fireplaces of the Porter 
residence were removed, and the living rooms devoted to 
business, — drugstore, apothecary-shop, pharmacy — such 
was the evolution, but of this some other can speak or write 
with certainty. 

On the second floor were offices of various Medford law- 
yers, and for many years the daguerrean rooms of Wilkin- 
son and later TreadwelL Amos B. Morss had there his 
printing office and ventured on the publication of the 
Chronicle, and there also George W. Stetson of the Leader 
had his editorial sanctum. Fraternal organizations have 
found quarters there, and for a year and a half the Histori- 
cal Society a temporary dwelling place. Real estate and 
intelligence offices, and lastly the modern invention of a 
vacuum cleaner seems to have been the last word in the 
long line of uses to which this part of the Porter house has 
been put. Then after a vacuum (or vacancy rather) for 
about a year with adverse conditons — war or otherwise — 
below, the Medford Publishing Company has taken the old 

94 THE ''REGISTER ' ' OF AGE. [October, 

house and in its first issue of the Mercury, there printed, 
gave an account of its history. Its existence covers the 
period of constitutional government of our country. All 
our presidential campaigns, our wars and our politics have 
there been discussed. Past its old walls the Medford men 
of '6 1, of '9S and '18 have marched away, the latter to help 
do away with the royal motto that so recently was " Mein- 
self und Gott." It was fitting that from out these old walls 
the following issue of the Mercury should send out the 
story of how Medford received the news of their success 
and of the retirement of the soiior partner on Novem- 
ber nth, and how it celebrated Victory Day. 

Excepting the removal of the front door and the intro- 
duction of plate glass, the general appearance of the old 
Porter house has changed but little. Its builders did their 
work well, as time has proved. They had none of the 
modern appliances with which to work ; a steam saw or 
planing mill was then unknown. All its timbers were 
hewn and its nails hand-made. It was forty-three years 
old when the stately town hall, that for eighty years 
worthily served municipal and social interests, was built. 
Other and more pretentious buildings have arisen 
nearby, some of them now gone, others in decadence. 
With its present use the old Porter house bids fair to 
remain for years to come, an unchanging landmark on 
one side of Medford square. 


The present issue completes the Register's twenty- 
first volume. Delayed in attaining its majority by war 
conditions, and bearing date of October, its earlier pages 
went to press on the eve of Victory Day, It will fall 
within its scope, in future issues, to make note of Med- 
ford's participation in the great struggle, not only over 
seas, but of the home workers, and of the newer work 
which citizens of Medford may do. 

It has been said " the nineteenth century made the 

1918.] STILL FORWARD. 95 

world a neighborhood ; the twentieth must make it a 
brotherhood!' The neighborhood of "over there" was 
never so apparent as on the morning of November nth. 
Thanksgiving Day takes on new meaning, and the 
brotherhood of the future will be realized yet more as 
we adapt ourselves to the new conditions. 

Since the Register's first issue Medford has well nigh 
trebled in population. Even a cursory glance at the 
names in the so-called Ward Book will show an almost 
cosmopolitan make-up. Much is said of the "melting- 
pot " of our democracy in these later days, but unless 
wise counsels prevail this increase is a menace, and Med- 
ford democracy neither safe nor sane. Some particular 
phases of this growth have not, as yet, been considered 
in the Register's pages. As a matter of history they 
should be, by some careful, unprejudiced writer. Who 
will do it? 


The Register has noted under Sale and Removal, 
Forward Movement, and Moving Fo7'ward (two years 
since), something of the home conditions of the Histori- 
cal Society. With this page at disposal is timely refer- 
ence to a few facts. The Society conserved its original 
investment in the old home (given therefor) by the pur- 
chase of its present site, the balance remaining going to 
the new structure. Contrary to current report, the City 
of Medford did not give this land. It was bought and 
paid for. Only fifty-six people, all but eight of whom 
are in the membership list, have contributed to the build- 
ing fund. One of the eight, unknown by name, a non- 
resident, was the first to contribute. So the fact remains, 
that outside the Society's membership but seven of old his- 
toric Medford's people have substantially aided the effort, 
and that to the amount of less than one hundred dollars. 
Economic administration of the Society's affairs made 
the occupancy of the new home needful ere completion. 

96 SEASON 1911-1918 [October, 1918.] 

Much has since been done, yet it is still incomplete. 
Two thousand dollars are needed to finish, of which 
three-fourths is required to pay the outstanding bills 
long overdue to indulgent creditors, and deferred by war 
conditions. It is now proposed to raise this sum in four 
hundred shares of five dollars each, to be entirely paid 
in by April i, 19 19. This will leave the Society free of 
debt. There has never been any construction (which 
means destruction) loan, and the work has been done at 
absolute cost, but held up by war conditions. Despite 
these, the management of current expense has been eco- 
nomical, and the year will close with little or no deficit. 

In the corner-stone (laid September 30, 19 16) is a print 
of a prospective city hall. Mailed to the President, it 
bore this legend in script, " Building going up. Sup- 
pose you will beat this." 

With an expenditure to date of three thousand, three 
hundred dollars, with two thousand paid by April next, 
with a completed home free from debt for our successors 
to pay, who will have won ? 

Will old historic Medford assist by sending pledge for 
shares to our Treasurer? 

SEASON 1917-1918. 

October 15. Forecast and Social Hour. Light Refreshments. 
Novemeer 19. Early Presidential Politics. Sherwin L. Cook, Esq., Roxbury. 
December 18. Development of Old Boston. Illustrated. Mr. Walter 

Kendall Watkins, Maiden. 
January 21. Annual Meeting. Reports, Election of Officers. Music by 

Trinity Church Orchestra. Light Refreshments. 
February 18. Leather-stocking Tales. Rev. Anson Titus, Somerville. 

Vocal Solos, Mrs. Annie Redding Moulton, West Medford. 
March 18. William Penn (with side lines). Mr. George H. Remele, West 

April 15. The Federal Constitution. Hon. George W. Fall, Maiden. 
May 27. Wellington, Ancient and Modern. Illustrated. Mr. Abner Barker, 

Medford. Soloist, Mrs. G. J. Slosser, West Medford. Pianist, Mrs. 

Gertrude Brierly, West Medford. Light refreshments served on this 

and previous occasions by the Hospitality Committee, Miss Atherton 

and Mesdames Googins and Mann. Mr. Brayton, of the high school, 

threw some (electric) light on both speakers' subjects, thus renewing 

a pleasing feature of former occasions. 



Medford Historical 

» * » 


Vol. XXII, 19 19 



Medford, Mass. 




No. 1. 

, , r ( The Mansion House of") 

Medford Library -I —>, . , Xf > 

(1 hatcher Magoun, br. > 

The Medford Library Building. M. W. M 

An Old-time Picnic. C. H. L. . 

Editorial Note ..... 

A Communication. J. H. Hooper 

Historical Inaccuracies. Editor 

Mystic No. 4. Jennie S. Brigham 

Reminiscences. J. S. B. 

Editor's Comment . . . . 

Mrs. Ellen M. Gill .... 

Another Year 









l 9 

No. 2. 

Chemical Works and Superintendent's House, 

Tow-path and Canal Bed, Looking East, in 

Old Tow-path, Looking West toward Boston 

Avenue, 1890 
New Storehouse of American Woolen Co., 

Looking South 
Factory of Stone, Timlow Co., Looking North 
How did Medford Get It's Name ? M. W. M. 
In Another Corner of Medford. M. W. M. . 
First Aqueduct, and Steamboat, 18 18 . Facing 
First Engine and Cars on Boston & Lowell) 

Railroad \ Facing 

Granite Arch over Mystic River / 




3 2 



A New Medford Industry. George M. Wallace 

Ruins of Second Aojjeduct, 1S65 . . Facing 

Abijah Thompson's ii Gleanings." M. W. M. 

Gleanings, Abijah Thompson 

A League of Nations. Edith Rojean Orne . 

Letter to Editor of Mercury . 

Officers for Year 1919 


4 1 

No. 3. 

Forest Street .... 
Scraps of Paper .... 
Writ of Attachment . 
Memorial Day. L. B. A. 
Medford Camp Fire Girls. Editor 

The Girl's Story. Mabel C. Lowry 
In Earlier Days .... 
Ship Yard Echoes 
A Correction .... 

Announcement .... 






No. 4. 

House of Simon and Turell Tufts 

Medford a Century Ago 

Medford Syren ..... 

Romance of Old Medford . 

Then and Now ..... 

The Society's Building Enterprise 

The Register's Twenty-second Volume 

Season of 191S-1919 

Tercentenary Years .... 

■ ' ■ 6 5 
. . 76 

. . 7 S 

• • S 3 
. . S 4 
. . S 4 


\ vn.^wtjmgimp 



■ v 



J^f JANUAPV, \9\<J ' ]■■'.&?< 




\ LHE . A> - N tt }USE OF f 
IThaTCj . • : ' 

- . [EDFORD LII : '. -./;: M. , 1 

AN OLD-TIME PICNIC. • C#. Z. / .- . , . .7 

EDITOR I At NOTE .- '" Y ." ."• . "-\ . ■ .■ \" '.'MO 

/. H. Hj?per . , , , \2 

HISTC . . IACII £ . . . '. 14- 

MYSTIC '-'NO. 4.. ' Je<tmeS* BrigJuim . .' ' . , . "" . .' 16 

REMINISCENCES. J. S\ B. . . .- 17 

EDITOR'S COMMENT ' , . . , . :..''. .13 

ELLEN : GILL / . 19 

ANOTHER YEAR . . ' . .'•"'. . , , 20 

Entei . - er the act of -Jul j 16, 1$°-^ 

Medtord Stat: ' ■ - 

BDF< D His 

Pi : • , . - ■ '■■ ' : . ;•.■■ ■■. udOci 

Med l-.H leal S :iety-, 

A T 

No, I() Governors Aveaue, WIedford, Mass, 

Sab | i ! s'tj aid. Single ■ ■■ ' ': , ; , 

Far sals St tr . ;.■ :.-•,...■ ■•.-,; by iht T-o, ; .a;,i.vre", 

Pufc ■ e. C tie: ttee. 


- 'i), C. W« M, BLANCHARD. 

FR! : OLE. 

lito I BS • . M-AN'N. 

!: "■ , list ."in . ■ . ' S. T. Fuller, 7 Alfred . : re? 

: . • - ". Ates E. R. (. 

FOR?*! 1 EST, 

»ath to :he M Ifo .1 His ;ti r , in 

. ." fa of _.._ :Do '■• 1 to 

tti€ /. 

. ■ 

r7?TC',r ~>pr?p T^spjs 

££iilM£* J!Mfc£< S -jjil 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXII. JANUARY, 1919. No. 1. 



IGHTY-FIVE years ago Medford had a population 
of about two thousand. Allowing an average of five 
to a dwelling would give four hundred structures for 
human habitation. But the average family of those days 
was larger, and three hundred is the more likely number. 
These varied in type from the few survivors of the earli- 
est days, the low-studded, two-storied, four-room house, 
to which a lean-to may have been added, if not originally 
thus built, or the one- and two-story gambrel roofs with 
roomy attics, to those more modern and pretentious, 
erected after ship-building began. The exceptions were 
the Royall, Peter Tufts, Major Wade and Hastings 
houses, with the country seat of Peter C. Brooks, the 
finest and newest of all. 

But at that time there was erected one that was, and 
still is, unique in design, substantial in construction, on an 
eligible and commanding location, that is worthy of more 
than a passing notice, and should hold in the estimation 
of Medford people the same place that the original Bul- 
finch State house does in that of the Commonwealth. 
We refer to the residence of Thatcher Magoun, now the 
public library building. 

Who knows the name of its architect, or yet the master 
builder that erected it, or even any workman that wrought 
in its construction ? The old house holds its secrets well. 
Who knows the make-up of those massive circular walls, 
or the year, or years (for work was not hurriedly done in 
those days) of its erection ? Prior to its time no one 
in Medford, that we know of, had ventured the construc- 
tion of a house with circular rooms, save. that of Abra- 
ham Touro, and that in but one particular. But here 


we find a combination of two adjacent circles of twenty- 
six feet placed under one roof of the most substantial 

We have been led to make these observations and 
queries for the information, not only of ourselves, but 
for those of Medford's people who may take interest 

Soon after coming to Medford we noticed its pecu- 
liarity, and remember it as it was ere the terrace and 
lofty portico were added by the owner to " the mansion 
house of my honored father." We are quoting the words 
of his letter to the selectmen relative to his gift of it to 
the town. Familiar with its exterior, yet with one ex- 
ception (soon after its opening for library use), we were 
never within its walls till after the construction of the 
brick stack-room and the attendant changes within. 

The men who refitted it for library use have passed 
on, and we can find no one to intelligently answer our 
queries. We have desired to add a trustworthy descrip- 
tion of this unique building to the archives of the Society 
for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, in 
reply to query and request made in Boston Tra?iscript 
of May 30 (last), as well as to our local history. So we 
turn to such sources of information as we have at hand. 

A tradition has been current that it was built in the 
same year and by the same builder as was the Gray 
mansion next west from it, and that early in the nine- 
teenth century. That, however, upon consideration is 
highly improbable, as Thatcher Magoun (born June 17, 
1775,111 Pembroke, Mass.) was but twenty-seven years 
of age when he came to Medford in 1802 and com- 
menced the business of ship-building. His first resi- 
dence was near his ship-yard on old Ship street, corner 
of Park, and it was near the close of his active career 
that he erected this house, which was in some respects 
superior to any in town. His son Thatcher had already 
purchased the estate across and further up High street 
(in 1832) when the elder Magoun purchased of Nathaniel 


Bishop, on October 5, 1833, " a certain piece of land with 
a dwelling house," having a frontage on High street of 
"seven rods and twenty-two links, to land of Widow 

The record of Medford ships show T s that he built his 
last ships in 1834 and 1835, one in each year, and that 
after 1835 the building at the Magoun ship-yard was 
by others. It would appear that the "mansion-house " 
was commenced at about the time of his retirement, 
about 1835. 

Facing page 357 in Brooks' History of Medford (1855) 
is a steel engraving by F. T. Stuart, showing the house 
and stable, with (presumably) the ow r ner in his carriage 
driving out across the sidewalk. Two pieces of statuary, 
and large vases, adorn the ample grounds. An iron 
fence surmounts the granite wall in front. A. C. Raw^son 
was the delineator, and the print also bears the name of 
O. R. Wilkinson, Medford's daguerrean artist of that time. 
But for the eastern chimney being a little out of place, 
(probably the fault of the delineator) the view is an excel- 
lent one, and valuable as evidence of the original building. 

Thirty years later Usher's history gives a line-cut 
(p. 303) from a different and nearer point of view T , show- 
ing the present terrace and portico, with the statuary 
and vases upon the pedestals of the balustrade. One of 
the vases and the eastern chimney are hidden by the big 
elm, and no photographer's name appears, but one Cope- 
land was delineator. 

In this view the words " Public Library " appear on the 
frieze of the portico, which indicates that the view was 
secured subsequent to 1875. It is a matter of regret that 
no files of either the Medford Journal ox Medford Chroni- 
cle were preserved by their publishers, for to such we 
would naturally refer for information. In the early seven- 
ties (probably '74) the younger Magoun had put the build- 
ing in "the most perfect repair" and added the terrace 
and portico. His father passed away on April 17, 1856, at 
the age of eighty years, leaving no will disposing of his 


estate of $800,000. His widow survived him until April 
23, 1862, attaining seventy-eight years. Caleb Swan 
made note soon after of the same, saying- 
She left no will and the property which was not divided after Mr. 
Magoun's death now all goes to the only two surviving children, 
Thatcher Magoun Jr. merchant of Boston and Medford and Mrs. 
Rev d . Dr. W m . Adams of New York. The Mansion House of 
their father built by him about 1S35 is already advertised for sale. 

Of the occupants, or if there were any during the suc- 
ceeding years prior to 1874, we have no information. 

Early in 1875 the selectmen of Medford were informed 
by Mr. Magoun, by letter dated January 22, 1875, of his 
intention to donate to the town the " Mansion House " 
of his " late honored father " for a library building. A 
copy of this letter was published in the Medford Chronicle 
at the time and may be found in the annual reports of 
the town. He stated in the letter — 

The style of the " Mansion House," certainly in its exterior, 
appears to me to be admirably adapted for the purpose proposed ; 
and my idea is, that the front or main building, above and below 
should all be used for library purposes as it is w r ell arranged for 
that purpose. 

He also offered the town the sum of $1,000 for book- 
cases and furnishing, and after adding suggestions as to 
the utilization of the rear portion of the building, stated 
his intention of inserting 

in the deed of conveyance that the title therein contained will be 
forfeited, should the stipulation [of library use] at any time not be 
strictly complied with. 

At the annual town meeting next following, Mr. Ma- 
goun's gift was duly accepted with thanks and he was 
asked to sit for his portrait, which he did, and the same 
is hung in the lower west room of the library. 
* The building was formally opened for its new use on 
June 20, 1875. (the Usher history says 1873, manifestly 
an error in proof-reading), three days after the hundredth 
anniversary of the birth of the first Thatcher Magoun. 
We do not recall ever hearing the coincidence men- 


tioned, and have had curiosity whether or not the donor 
might not have had in mind even when he made the 
addition to the front, its being a centenary memorial of 
his father, who was the founder of the Medford industry 
of ship-building, had been a leading business man, and 
the largest tax-payer in the old town. 

We have said this building is unique in design. Ge- 
ometry demonstrates that the circle contains the largest 
area that can be enclosed by a given amount of exterior 
boundary line. But in actual building practice, when 
wood is the material used, the cost far exceeds the advan- 
tage gained. However, w r e have no thought that Mr. 
Magoun had that in mind. He was a ship-builder, and 
accustomed to curved lines, both in theory and practice. 
We have often thought he may have been his own archi- 
tect, as we find those " wooden walls " are as thick as 
those of a ship — sixteen or seventeen inches. No wooden 
house of that day, or this, exceeds six or seven. The 
foundation walls conform to the circular form within 
and the rectangular without, the cellar having windows 
only where the circle joins the outer straight lines. 

The six great pillars, of the Ionic order, which form a 
colonnade outside the enclosing walls, are nearly three 
feet in diameter at their bases, and support the entabla- 
ture and cornice that is purely classic in design. They 
rest upon a granite foundation with a flagging resem- 
bling soap-stone. These columns are doubtless built 
around sizable timbers strong enough in themselves to 
support the roof. In all their details of bases, fluting 
and capitals they are architecturally and proportionately 
correct. The entablature rests honestly upon the volu- 
ted capitals and on the impinging circles of the walls, 
and is correct in every detail. The original gables are 
perfectly plain, with no windows or openings into the 
attic, and their cornices are carried a little higher than 
the main roof, which is covered with slates. These were 
imported from Wales, as at that time few slate quarries 
had been opened here. The windows are long and of 


fifteen panes in the lower story, which is eleven feet high, 
and their splayed openings have recessed pockets into 
which the panelled shutters fold back. The ceilings cf 
these four large rooms are heavily corniced, and all the 
door and window openings have a moulded trim enriched 
with carved center and corner blocks. 

In the lower story such doors as were in curved par- 
titions were made to conform to the curve. The en- 
trance hall took a segment of four feet off each circle, 
making a straight side of fifteen feet in each room in 
which were wide doors of two leaves on the lower floor. 
The entrance hall had a heavy panelled door, with tran- 
som and side-lights, and a window at the rear. The 
latter is shown in the enlarged photograph which is pre- 
served in the library. This was secured by the fore- 
thought of former President Eddy of the Historical 
Society, prior to the alterations made at the erection of 
the brick stack-room, and shows the fine old stairway as 
originally built. 

As yet we have found no one to tell us of the mode 
of construction of those circular walls. The alterations 
made twenty years ago (by workmen from out of town) 
may or may not have revealed it to them. The windows 
set deeply into the walls from without and more so 
within, and suggest that the circular walls may be of 
rough brick-work. If not, they may be of planks, sawed 
in segments and spiked or " trunnelled," one upon an- 
other, as was the circular house of Enoch Robinson on 
Prospect hill in Somerville.* On the exterior they are 
sheathed vertically with narrow boards whose edges are 
devoid of heading or rounded corners, and their joining is 
now, after the lapse of so many years of exposure, barely 
noticeable. There is apparent sincerity of construction, 
in that no attempt is made to imitate a lintel over the 
windows, only a narrow plinth of wood at the flagging, 
and no cornice or moulding at the top. 

* There are several dwellings in Medford, built before the Civil War, 
whose walls and partitions were thus laid up with fencing pales. 


There is a tradition that Mr. Magoun had the front 
portion erected in its classic architectural style " to please 
his wife," and that he built the " L " at the rear " to live 
in and to suit himself." Certainly there was a contrast, 
in that it was perfectly plain, with low-studded rooms, 
"like a ship's cabin," and these were the ones mostly used. 
By the alterations for library use these have disappeared. 
By the removal of part of the second floor, partitions, 
and exterior wall in one story they have become the 
reading room and part of the corridor. It is doubtful if 
Mr. Magoun expected the library to grow to its present 
proportions when he suggested the librarian's residence 
in those cabin-like rooms. 

It has been said that Oakman Joyce of Medford was 
the builder. This is not unlikely, as a little later (1839) 
he built the Unitarian church. Whoever he was, his 
work does him credit. 

In this article we have been unable to answer our own 
queries. Possibly it may serve to awaken other and 
more successful ones that may add to our knowledge of 
old Med ford's history. 

_______ M. W. M. 


There is ever a charm in the reading of letters of earlier 
years, and this is especially true when the sentiments as 
expressed in the written words leave a pleasing impress 
of the writer's individuality, as disclosed by criticism 
and opinions regarding events and personal experiences. 
Such a charm, we think, attaches to a letter bearing 
date of Brookline, July 20, 1817, and written by Miss 
Fanny Searle * to her sister, Mrs. Margaret Curzon,* 
then at Havana, Cuba. In it is a description of an all- 
day excursion on the Middlesex canal on July 18, 181 7. 
The readers of the Historical Register may be inter- 
ested in it because of details which occurred in Medford. 

*The first-named died in Brookline, May 3, 1851, and the latter in New- 
buryport, June 28, 1877. 

8 AN OLD-TIME PICNIC. [January, 

The picnic party consisted of a large gathering of what 
was best in the society of the old town of Boston. It 
was held at the " Lake of the Woods," now known as 
Horn pond, in Woburn. The Indian name was Innitou. 
There were represented the Winthrops, Ouincys,Amorys, 
Sullivans, Grays, Masons, Tudors, Eliots, Cabots, and 
others. Daniel Webster and wife were also of the party. 
Mr. Webster was then thirty-five years of age. He had 
taken up his residence in Boston in August of the pre- 
vious year. In the following year, 1818, he was to estab- 
lish his fame at the bar by his matchless argument on the 
great Dartmouth college case before the Supreme Court 
of the United States. 

It is interesting to note, as we do in the letter, the im- 
pression made by Webster upon an educated and culti- 
vated woman on a social occasion. His great career 
in the Senate began ten years later. 

But to quote from the letter. Space will not permit 
its insertion in full. 

Since I last wrote, many pleasant things have happened to me 
particularly, of these the most prominent is a day passed on the 
Canal, and its shores; there was such a variety in the amusements 
of the day, and of so choice a kind, that I felt no fatigue from 9 in 
the morning till 10 at night. 

We entered the boat at Charlestown at \ past 9. The party was 
too large to have any stiffness; indeed there was the utmost ease 
and good humor without sadness through the day. 

The shores of the Canal for most of the distance are beautiful. 
We proceeded at the rate of 3 miles an hour, drawn by two horses, 
to the most romantic spot (about 9 miles from Boston) that I ever 

The lake is about twice the size of Jamaica Pond or larger, and 
has a small wooded island in the center. On the island was a band 
of musicians which began to play as soon as we landed. It seemed 
a scene of enchantment; Cousin Kate who was by my side seemed 
too much affected to speak. 

We had many wits in the party and there was no lack of bon 
mots. The gentlemen played off upon each other, to our amuse- 
ment. When spirits flagged, we had the resource of music. Five 
instruments, and vocal music from Mrs Qiiincy, Mr Callender and 


occasionally Mr Webster and young May,* with whom I was very 
much pleased, and who discovered, I thought, true modest assur- 
ance, with very good sense. 

The ascent of the Canal was altogether* new to me, and very in- 
teresting. It was all the pleasanter for having so many children to 
whom it was likewise a novelty — especially the locks through 
which we passed. 

After landing, the children danced on the green under a tent or 

Later we enjoyed an excellent cold dinner, which we were quite 
hungry enough to relish. The day was the hottest of the season. 
After lunch, we dispersed for an hour as best pleased us. 

We again re-entered the boat; tables were placed the whole 
length of it, on which were arranged fruit, wine, ice and glasses. 
It was the prevailing opinion that we had started for home too soon, 
so we landed at another delightful spot,j where we stopped an hour. 

This was as pleasant an hour as any in the day, and here it was 
that I was particularly struck with May. 

We were standing on the edge of the pond and observed some 
pond lilies a little distance in the water, but too far to be reached 
from the shore. Some lady expressed a wish to have one. 

44 Is there no gentleman spirited enough to come forward and 
get them " said Mr Webster. 44 Is no one gallant enough, strange, 
'tis very strange." 

May stood it so far, and then darted forward, urged on by Mr W. 
who said he was glad the days of chivalry were not over. '* Very 
glad to see you have so much courage, Mr May/' 

" It would have required more courage not to have done it, after 
the challenge I received," said May. " I claim no merit, Sir." 

44 A little farther Sir" said Mr Webster, 44 there is another on 
your right, one on the other side" &c 

May went on until he was up to his middle. I besought Mr 
Webster not to urge him further. 4t Oh" said he, 44 it does not 
hurt a young man to wet his feet. I would have gone myself, were 
it not for the ladies." 

May came up with his hands filled with lilies which he gave to 
Mr Webster, and he in turn gave one to each lady near. 

Mr Sullivan came up just then, and asked May what induced 
him to do it. 

44 Mr Webster's eloquence" said he. 

44 It never brought me a lily before," said the Orator. " Though 
it has many laurels" replied May. Mr W. bowed, and thus ended 
the little episode. 

* Afterward the Rev. Samuel J. May. 

t Bacon's grove on the Upper Medford pond. 

10 AN OLD-TIME PICNIC. [January, 

I have not done justice to Mr Webster's words, look and manner. 
No words of mine can paint them to you. 

It always delights me to see him, and I was never so charmed 
with him as this day. 

To all the wit and power of mind of all the other gentlemen, he 
super-adds a tenderness and unaffected feeling that is seldom seen 
in his sex, and especially at his time of life, and in his pursuits. 

We again entered the boat, and pursued our course a few miles, 
stopping near a house * which we did not enter, but where coffee 
was served in the boat. 

The children had another cotillion while the boat was descend- 
ing the lock. 

We walked a short distance, got into the boat again, took coffee 
listened to sweet strains, saw the sun descend and the moon rise, 
and reached our place of debarkation just after the last tints of day- 
light had faded. 

Other parts of Miss Searle's letter are devoted to ex- 
pressions of her intense enjoyment of the day as it passed, 
and its delightful retrospection, the chatty intimacy natu- 
rally existing between sisters, and her personal judgment 
of the various persons of the picnic party. 

As we read of the events of that perfect day, a hun- 
dred years ago, we find ourselves conjecturing as to 
whether, in after years, when, after some great debate in 
the Senate where his magnificent oratory had swept all 
before it, the "great expounder" sought the quiet of his 
room, his thoughts would revert from the triumphs of 
forensic battles to those sylvan hours when he distributed 
to the ladies of that summer picnic party in Medford the 
water-lilies which his eloquence had inspired others to 

C. H. L. 

Editorial Note. 

It is very unlikely that the incidents of any other 
picnic party or summer outing in Medford are as well 
preserved as those of the above relation. The daughter 
of the Mrs. Quincy therein alluded to kept a diary, in 

*The Canal tavern in West Medford. 

1919.] AN OLD-TIME PICNIC. 11 

which many of the facts related are noted, with others of 
equal interest. Both letter and diary formed the basis of 
an interesting communication to the Colonial Society 
of Massachusetts in 1907, which is illustrated by a view 
of the " Lake of the Woods " with its wooded island. It 
was the privilege of the editor to identify the various 
localities therein named, and assist that writer, H. H. 
Edes, Esq., at that time. Very recently we have found 
(what neither knew at that former time) the story of the 
lily-picking episode as told by Mr. May himself in his 

The view T across "the Lake of the Woods" (Horn 
pond) is little changed in the lapse of a century, and 
" nature has dealt kindly, as the tall trees witness," with 
the locality in " Upper Medford," from which could be 
seen " the distant spire of Menotomy." At the latter 
the canal embankments remain intact, from the site of 
the aqueduct which spanned the Aberjona, to the Mystic 
Valley parkway, where is a bronze tablet relative to the 
canal, erected by the park commission. 

Mr. May in later years became a zealous advocate of 
temperance, and espoused the anti-slavery cause. But 
there came a time when " Mr. Webster's eloquence " in 
favor of the fugitive slave law became distasteful to him. 
To him Lydia Maria Child dedicated her book, the 
"Appeal for that Class of Americans Called Africans," 
which publication was for a time disastrous to her rising 

There is, in the Historical Society's collection, a 
framed copy of the endorsement by Medford people 
(with their appended names) of Mr. W T ebster's speech in 
Congress. Doubtless the signers honestly thought it 
brought him " laurels," but the verdict of years is the 
reverse, as was, at the time, that of " Sam May." 

12 [January, 


To the Editor of the u Medford Historical Register": 

Sir : — I have noted from time to time many inaccu- 
racies in the Register from the commencement of its 
publication to the present time, and am forcibly reminded 
of the sayings of Mr. John Fiske, historian, that " The 
step from unconscious historical inaccuracy to conscious 
historical falsehood is not a long one." " The errors of 
our local historians have taken such a firm hold on the 
local thought and literature that no amount of evidence 
to the contrary will scarcely displace." 

I do not propose to review the first twenty volumes of 
the Register at the present time, but I wish to call your 
attention to some inaccuracies in the second and third 
numbers of the Register for the current year, which, in 
the interest of historical accuracy, should be corrected. 
In an article entitled " Medford on the Map," in Vol. XXI, 
No. 2, p. 32, reference is made to Waiting's map of Med- 
ford, which was accompanied by eleven other maps or 
sections bound together in an atlas. The writer of the 
article failed to discover such atlas or any one that has 
memory of it. A foot-note says, " As both history 
(Brooks' history) and map were published at nearly the 
same time and by separate interest, it is probable that 
the reference to eleven sections was made from some 
prospectus rather than actual issue." 

These maps or sections cannot be classed among 
"Medford Myths"; they actually existed as a supple- 
ment to the map. The lots on each section were num- 
bered, and a reference book or index accompanied the 
atlas in which was recorded the number of each lot and 
its area in acres or square feet. During my service as an 
assessor I had occasion to consult the atlas times with- 
out number. The last time I saw the atlas was about 
ten years ago, in the city engineer's office, where I made 
copies of several lots to assist my study of Medford 


In Vol. XXI, No. 3, p. 64, the writer of the article has 
"grave doubts of the structure — being as smoothly 
angular and straightly railed as this seems to be." (See 
illustration opposite page 56 of that number.) The origi- 
nal sketch of this bridge is now before me. It is three 
feet six inches in length and one foot six inches in width, 
and does not look as " smoothly angular " as in the re- 
duced copy. This sketch was made in part from a de- 
scription of a bridge found in the county records and in 
part from the remains of an ancient bridge that was re- 
moved on the north side of the river when the present 
stone bridge was built. The Unitarian church steeple 
is represented on the sketch by a cedar tree. The build- 
ings on the sketch are located by a mistake of the artist 
where the Jonathan Wade house stands, instead of nearer 
the market-place or square, and the crest of Pasture hill 
is plainly elevated above the roofs of the buildings. As 
to the luxurious growth of trees as shown in the illustra- 
tion, who shall say that they did not exist? That trees 
will grow near the " salt Mystic " was shown by the trees 
that stood on an island in the marshland below Labor-in- 
vain point. This island was elevated but a few feet above 
marsh level, and was surrounded by water every high 
course of the tides. The trees have long since disap- 
peared. Near the island, on the east side, is a salt-water 
creek called Lydia's hole, from a colored woman named 
Lydia who was said to have been drowned there. The 
illustration, like all other ideal pictures, is open to 

In Vol. XXI, No. 3, p. 67, the writer of the article 
says, "Yes, this is the' Bower' . . . the site of the ancient 
mill." When I attended the West grammar school in 
the old brick schoolhouse that stood at the rear of the 
Unitarian church lot, the weekly holiday was Saturday 
afternoon. Saturday forenoon was a sort of a go-as-you- 
please day. We had no regular lessons, and often in the 
early summer the scholars were lined up in front of the 
horse sheds and, headed by the master, were marched 


up what is now Powder House road (then called Bishop's 
lane), over the crest of the hill to a little knoll a short 
distance away, on which was a growth of trees standing 
in such positions as to form a bower. We spent the 
forenoon in picking wild flowers and in rambling about 
the woods in the immediate vicinity. This was the 
" Bower " mentioned by Mr. Brooks and the " Bower " 
of my boyhood. Every boy and girl of that generation 
knew its location. Mr. Brooks published his history 
some years after I used to visit the place. It was no- 
where near the site of the old mill-dam or near any other 

dam site. 



The communication of Mr. Hooper, which precedes, 
is very interesting. We wish to refer to its three specific 
mentions of possible error. 

First. As to the eleven maps of Medford, " bound in 
an atlas." We were informed at the city engineer's office 
that nothing of the kind was there, only the single Wal- 
ling map, and that such an atlas would be very desirable. 
It is not an uncommon occurrence for schemes of publi- 
cation to fail, and it was then and there suggested that 
such might have been the case in this particular. This 
was not " classed among the Medford myths? By the 
statement of Mr. Hooper, who writes from personal 
knowledge, it appears to have been an actual existing 
fact, and that until ten years ago. The query naturally 
arises, What has become of the said " eleven sections 
bound together in an atlas"? It is certainly desirable 
that its whereabouts, or fate, be known. 

Second. As to the author's not unfriendly criticism 
of the view of the earliest bridge over the river. It is 
not at all surprising that in the reduction from the three 
and a half feet of the "original sketch " to the three and 
a half inch half-tone of the Register, the " cedar tree " 


of the artist should be mistaken for the Unitarian church 
steeple. Mr. Hooper admits the artist's error in house 
location, and frankly says it is, " like all other ideal pic- 
tures," open to criticism. The "island" he refers to, with 
its trees, is surely a subject of interest. We trust its 
story, with Lege?id of Lydia, will be secured ere the deep- 
water Mystic our Representative Burrell advocates be- 
comes a reality. 

Thirdly. About the " Bower." We plead not guilty 
to "consciotis historical falsehood" (italics our own) in this 
count of the indictment (if such it be). We have con- 
sulted the dictionary, which is a help in trouble, and find 
some twenty meanings of false and a dozen of falsehood. 
This latter, in the quotation of Mr. H. from John Fiske, 
is doubly qualified. Certainly the writer of the " Mid- 
winter Ramble" is now in a maze, if not then in the "Bozuer" 
for by the communication of. Mr. H. the " Bower" men- 
tioned by Mr. Brooks was not where the writer thought 
he had found it, not by " a dam site." We will now quote 
Mr. Brooks, (page 393): — 

There was a mill at the place now called the "Bower," about a 
mile north of the meeting-house of the first parish, carried by the 
water of Marble Brook. The banks, race, canal and cellar are yet 
traceable. This was used for grinding grain and sawing timber. 
It was on land owned by Mr. Dudley Wade. 

The mid-winter rambler had read the above, had never 
heard or read elsewhere of this mill or dam site, and ac- 
cepting the only mention known to him as correct, wrote, 
" Yes, this is the " Bower " (so-called fifty years ago), the 
site of the ancient mill" He regrets his inaccuracy, re- 
news his plea of " not guilty of historical falsehood," and 
suggests a pilgrimage of interested readers to the real 
site of the "Bower" as located by former President 
Hooper, and farther on to the dam, of which structure 
so much remains intact after the lapse of two centuries 
and which so few have ever seen, but which is well worth 

16 [January, 


Looking over some early numbers of the Register I 
read an article concerning the Med ford fire engines. 
Jackson No. 2 seemed like an old friend from the past, 
as it was under the engine house that Miss Chase taught 
a small school, where I was once a pupil, in my younger 
days, for a short time. The house stood opposite the 
Center Grammar and High schoolhouse, as it was called 
in those days. When the alarm for fire rang, some of 
the unruly boys would rush out of school and over to 
the engine house, regardless of what would happen to 
them afterwards — and it always did happen — on their 

I think it was the lunch after the return of the tub (as 
they termed it) that appealed to them, more than the help 
they could afford. This consisted principally in yelling. 
They had fun in seeing which of the " tubs " could wash 
over the others. Having two brothers and a cousin in 
that Center Grammar school, I heard a great deal of 
"tub" talk. There were three engines, if I remember 
rightly, General Jackson, Governor Brooks, and Wash- 
ington. A favorite query among the boys was, " Who 
do you blow for? " This question, asked of a well-known 
individual, the answer was always, " The Orthodox 
Church," which was to the point, as he pumped for the 
organ in that church. 

Reading of these engines reminded me that there had 
been a fourth (although not generally known), Mystic 
No. 4, in the early '50s. It was short-lived. At that 
time there was a boys' engine in Maiden, and some of 
the West Medford boys thought they also needed one. 
They formed a company, appointed a captain and clerk, 
and engaged John Hebden, who lived in the house near 
Meeting-house brook, later occupied by a florist, to build 
it. The next move was for an engine house. A new 
building to take the place of the almshouse having been 
built on Purchase street, there was a small building left 
on the place .on Canal street. It had but one room, 


where an insane person was kept — Nathaniel Crowell, 
commonly called u Nat Crow." It had one window with 
iron bars. It would seem in those days insane people 
were looked on as criminals, and treated worse. 

The boys secured this building, had a door cut in it 
large enough to run the engine into, and, it seems, fas- 
tened by a staple, as one day we were surprised to see 
a poster which read — 

Five Dollars Reward. 
The above sum is offered for the arrest and conviction of the 
person or persons who entered the above Co's engine house by 
drawing the staple on the night of the 19 th inst. 

Per order 

Arthur G. Smith 
John Hebden Clerk. 


I cannot recall any fire they attended, as that was 
tabooed. I have said it was short-lived. Alas! they 
could not raise money enough to clear off the debt, and 
the tub was claimed by the builder, who was also the 
foreman. JENNIE S. BRIGHAM. 

Editor of "Historical Register ": — 

I am sending you a few reminiscences I promised. 

When I read in a Register of 191 5 an account of the 
school taught by Mr. A. K. Hathaway in Medford, say- 
ing that on his death the school was dispersed, I thought 
of writing to correct that statement. Then I decided to 
let it pass. Since, in reading an interesting paper in a 
Register, correcting some errors in former articles con- 
cerning records of Medford, I was much impressed by 
its writer saying that, when possible, mistakes should be 
rectified. This is my reason for making the correction 
at this late hour. In the fall of 1859 I became a pupil 
in Miss Hale's department in Mr. Hathaway's school. 

18 EDITOR'S COMMENT. [January, 

After his death a young man taught there; I think his 
name was Sanders. He was quite unpopular, and was 
succeeded by D. A. Caldwell. I have, in an old album 
(that was the day of albums), a quotation written by 
him in 1 86 1. I did not return to the school after vaca- 
tion. I met Mr. Caldwell some years after and he told 
me he was teaching in a Boston school. 

In a very interesting paper, mention is made of the 
house on the corner of Hastings Lane and High street. 
In 1854 it was occupied by an English family from 
Canada, William Woods, wife and two daughters, the 
latter teaching a school. Mrs. H. would remember this 
school, as she and her sister were pupils there. I can 
recall sixteen pupils. In the tornado of 185 1 a mother 
and two daughters, Hartigan by name, lived there, and a 
large piece of slate came through the roof, nearly striking 
the old lady, who was sitting in an upper room. That 
incident, added to the death of Mr. Huffmaster, made 
such an impression on my childish mind that even now 
I have a perfect horror of a high wind. 

At that time there was a door to the house on High 
street. The one on the lane was used for a school en- 
trance. It had a long shed on the back, and a sloping 
roof reached to the ground on the Brooks estate, and we 
used to sit there very often in recess time when we were 
not playing games in the lane. J. S. B. 


In a personal interview Mrs. Brigham mentions inter- 
esting facts about the Medford of her childhood days ; 
of the Indians that came on the river to Rock hill and 
up " Woburn lane " to the " Rocks," as the Middlesex 
Fells used to be called; of the digging for the "pirate's 
treasure near the big rock ; " and of a family burial-ground 
in our old town. 

There are older people than she, long resident here, 

1919.] MRS. ELLEN M. GILL. 19 

who ought to be able to add their bit to historic fact re- 
lating to Medford, which the Register's pages will 

Mrs. Brigham's paper on Mystic Hall Seminary, read 
before the Historical Society eleven years ago (see Regis- 
ter, Vol. XI, p. 49) is the only historical mention extant 
of a once famous Medford school. 


On January 29, 19 19, after three years of waiting, 
Mother Gill passed on to the future life. Tracing her 
Pilgrim ancestry to John and Priscilla Alden, she was 
born, daughter of Atherton Thayer Bowditch, in Boston, 
June 28, 1830. Married in 1849 to John Gill of Water- 
town, she came with him to Medford in 1854, living on 
Ashland Street for more than sixty years. 

The love of flowers was inherent in her father's family, 
one of his relatives being a founder of the Massachusetts 
Horticultural Society. In her earlier years, under such 
influence, she was a frequent exhibitor at the county 
fairs, and in 1865 sne joined that society, and is said to 
be the first woman to attain its membership. The occa- 
sions were very rare when she did not receive award of 
prizes. In 187 1 she erected her first greenhouse beside 
her home, and the florist business she established grew, 
under her fostering care, to large extent. 

She was a woman of kindly sympathies and many ac- 
tivities, notably, in the days of the Civil War, in the 
Union Relief Association, and later in the formation of 
the Woman's Relief Corps. Always interested in the 
Boys in Blue, she was specially active and was honored 
by the National Encampments of the Grand Army of 
the Republic, held (in 1890 and 1904) in Boston. 

One of the earliest as well as oldest members of the 
Medford Historical Society, she was rarely absent from 
its meetings, always interested, and ever helpful. Her 
kindly face and presence was always a benediction. She 

20 FOR ANOTHER YEAR. [January, 1919. 

was for many years a worshipper at the Mystic Congre- 
gational Church, a member since 1901. Of her it was 
said, by one of her associates there, " Of a strong per- 
sonality, positive temperament, and a frankness in criti- 
cism, she was yet ever loyal to friend and cause, large 
hearted, and responsive to every call that interested her, 
and her going away leaves a void in a large circle of 
friends. As we looked on the quiet figure surrounded 
by a wealth of magnificent blooms, it was with confi- 
dence that we left her in the keeping of Him in whose 
worship she would find an added charm because He is 
the " Rose of Sharon " and the " Lily of the Valley." 

To our u Mother Gill," with most kindly remembrance, 
we say " Good-night." 


With this issue the Register begins a new volume — 
its twenty-second. It is published by the Medford His- 
torical Society in the interest of historic accuracy, and 
for the benefit of our home city. Its preparation is, and 
always has been, a labor of love on the part of editors, 
contributors and the Society. To the latter it has, until 
recently, been an expense, and at present is barely self- 
supporting. The city, whose interest it serves, in no 
way bears any part of its cost, nor (contrary to the state- 
ments that come to us from time to time) has ever so 
done* The publishing society itself (contrary to ex- 
pressed opinion) has received but scant assistance from 
the general public, and what it has accomplished has 
been almost wholly by the effort and contribution of its 
membership. The opportunity is still open for the " pub- 
lic spirit " of Medford to manifest itself in ways it has 
not yet done. 

We regret the lateness of this issue, and hope for an 
earlier appearance of the next, with new features. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXII. APRIL, 1919. No. 2. 


SUCH is the question we are asked, and an authori- 
tative answer for publication is expected. Under 
such circumstances one naturally turns to official records 
and published history. 

The first mention of Medford is in the colony record of 
the General Court, under date of September 28, 1630, 
when $£ was levied upon it for the support of military 

Under the same date a coroner's jury returned its 
verdict in the death of Austin Bratcher at Mr. Cradock's 
farm, which resulted in the indictment of Walter Palmer 
for manslaughter and his subsequent acquittal from the 
charge in November. But one of Cradock's "servants" 
held variant opinion and sought " to traduce the court," 
and was sentenced to be whipped therefor, being the 
fifth in the colony to receive such sentence. 

Here we find Med ford's entrance into the limelight of 
history. Mr. Cradock's farm was a tract of land a mile 
wide (approximately) and four miles along the riverside 
from Charlestown, which then extended some fifteen 
miles north-westward. 

The Indians that lived there were called "Abergini- 
ans," and their name comes down to us today, in that of 
the Aberjona, the upper reach of their river, the tidal 
stream they called Alissi-tuk, which the English tongue 
called Mistick. 

That it was the locality is proven by Josselyn, in 1638, 
as "three miles from Charlestown and a league and a 
half, four and one-half miles, by water " i.e., by the wind- 
ing or circuitous river's course. He applied the name 
Mistick to the little settlement on the northwest side of 


the river. So here are three names of one and the same 
place, all cotemporary: first, Medford, from the colony 
record ; second, Mr. Cradock's farm, also from the colony 
record; third, Mistick, from Josselyn, is of Indian origin. 
The second was proprietary, but would of necessity be in 
time outgrown and disused. The third was official and 
remains. But why Medford ? Towns are named by offi- 
cial, i.e., by governmental, executive or legislative action, 
in honor or memory of persons or places, as well as pe- 
culiarities. In those early days the incorporating words 
w r ere few; as witness, " Charlestown Village is called 
Wooburne," " Sagust is called Linn." But we search the 
colony records in vain to find that Mr. Cradock's farm is 
called Medford ; and literally speaking, the early Med- 
ford was never incorporated. Like Topsy, she simply 
"growed." Still the fact remains that in September, 1630, 
a tax of three pounds had been laid upon a place desig- 
nated by the General Court as Medford and again we ask 
"why Medford?" When and by whom previously? There 
are no local records to search — really none till 1674. 
Neither were there any dictagraphs in those early days 
to can the words of the godfather who named the town, 
calling it Medford, and to be laid away in the garret of 
the " ferme-house " long since gone. We can only an- 
swer the query by the result of reason and research. We 
have already noted the geographical situation of Mr. 
Cradock's farm, the early Medford. 

The seventeenth of June, 1630, is commonly accepted, 
and two hundred and seventy-five years after was cele- 
brated, as the time of settlement, and again we may ask 
why. Because Governor Winthrop wrote, " We went 
up Mistick river about six miles." But W T inthrop did 
not settle in Medford but in Charlestown, on the other 
side of the river. However, as seen in Deputy Governor 
Dudley's letter (of March 28, 163 1) to the Countess of 
Lincoln, of those coming from Salem, some "found a 
good place upon Mistick" " which we named Meadford." 
Here then is the earliest authentic account we have of the 


naming of Medford. Again in our search we ask " why 
Medford" and answer our own query, thus — Because 
the "good place upon Mistick " was to be Mr. Cradock's 
farm, and they so called it, from Medford in Staffordshire 
in the old England they came from, and which old shire 
Mr. Cradock had represented in Parliament since 1620, 
the eighteenth year of the reign of James the first. 

As we had no dictagraph record of Dudley's pronun- 
ciation, we have naturally considered that M-e-a-d was 
called phonetically Meed, and so has come the usual in- 
terpretation of Medford, as Meadow-ford, though in 1855, 
historian Brooks gave it as i4 great-meadow " making no 
mention therewith of the fording place he knew to have 
existed. He directly tells us that in one of the earliest 
deeds of sale it is written " Metford," and that after 
1 7 1 5 it has been uniformly written " Medford." Meadow- 
ford would not have been an inappropriate designation 
for a specific place in the river's course ; but ancient Med- 
ford or Mr. Cradock's farm was four miles long. 

Now a few words relative to Metford, and copy of a 
written note attached to a copy of the History of Med- 
ford (Brooks) by Caleb Swan, which is of interest, and 
never before published. 

Medford, July 31, 1857. 

Mr. Charles Brooks (the author of this book) dining with us at 
Dr. Swan's today — Mrs Adams and daughter of Winter hill being 
present — said that he had lately ascertained that the original name 
of the town was Metford — after a county seat Governor Cradock 
in England in Staffordshire called Metford and that he named his 
new town from that and that in his will he called it Metford in 
New England, 

The above date is two years subsequent to the publi- 
cation of the book which contains many other interesting 
notes and is the property of the Medford Historical 

In Staffordshire Navies and Places p. 1 o 1 ( 1 902) we find 

Meaford, \\ m. N.W. of Stone D* Mepford, Metford; 11 73 
Medford; 1 251, later Mefford. 

*Domesday Book. 


Meaford lies on the Trent, where it is crossed by the great road 
from London to the N.W. The terminal ford doubtless applies to 
the passage of the river. Despite the D. x forms the prefix may be 
accepted as Med which is difficult to interpret. It may represent 
A.S-t maed, a meadow, but meadow-ford is not a satisfactory in- 
terpretation. There is a small stream running into Trent at Mea- 
ford and Med may represent its ancient name. 

In Surveys of Staffordshire Preface p. xvi is mention 
by a contemporary diarist, of 

R. Caverswall house Mr Cradock owns it. 

And elsewhere in same book is 

1640, 15 Ch. [arles] I Matthew Cradock Eng. merchant re- 
turned to Parliament for the City of London. 

The last Matthew Cradock built the house at Caverswall. 

To our caption query we reply: The original settle- 
ment of Medford was by men in the employ and interest 
of Matthew Cradock, merchant of London, He was the 
first "governor" or president of a trading company 
chartered by King Charles I. He never came oversea 
but suggested the transfer here of the charter which be- 
came the foundation of a commonwealth. 

Old home associations such as Mr. Brooks alluded to 
at Dr. Swan's dinner-table (also alluded to by the Eng- 
lish diarist quoted) may have prompted him to call the 
new plantation he was starting, Medford or Metford. 
Dudley, his associate and successor in office, writes 
" which we named Meadford," thus differing slightly in 
possible pronunciation. 

Whether d or t is of little moment but it is tantalizing 
that Mr. Brooks failed to mention the sources of his in- 
formation regarding the Staffordshire town. Called in 
" Domesday Book " both Medford and Metford, in 1 173 
it was called Medford. In 1251 it was still Medford, later 
itwas Mefford; and in 1892, and probably now, Meaford 
— all this variety of spelling (possibly ?iot of pronunciation) 
in staid old England. Somehow we fancy that e has its 

*Domesday Book. fAnglo Saxon. 


short sound in all, as a recent comer from Staffordshire 
pronounces the present Meaford Mefford. The New- 
England town, now a city of 37,000 people, has almost 
from its earliest days been called Medford and sixteen 
others in as many states bear the name spelled in the 
same way and more or less traceable thereto. 

We have tried to answer the query on lines of historic 
truth, citing only credible evidence. Our readers must 
decide for themselves much as did the children who asked 
which was the lion and which the baboon, and were told 
by the accommodating showman, "Just which you pleases, 
little dears, you pays your money and you takes your 

Our choice is, Medford got its name from Medford in 
Staffordshire, Old England. 


Topographically speaking, Medford is a city of numer- 
ous corners — thirty-four, to be exact. Some are near 
busy highways, others in the rocky solitudes of Middle- 
sex Fells ; several are on the College hill slopes, while 
yet others are unseen by the eye of man in the river's 
bed and the depth of Mystic lake. For a more minute 
description of these angular localities the reader is re- 
ferred to Vol. XVIII, page 90, of the Register, and for 
views of the same to the volume entitled " Boundaries." 

Some years since, the Register, in Vol. XIII, page 97, 
described one of these corners in some detail, illustrating 
the same by a sketch of its physical features which a 
former Medford man had made in 1855, probably little 
thinking that years after he had passed on, it would at- 
tract attention. 

Twenty years before, with the same praiseworthy 
intent, another, doubtless and " evidently a novice," at- 
tempted to portray another corner of Medford, which is 
the scene and subject of the present writing. Like the 
other, its principal physical features were three in num- 


ber, one natural and two artificial. Efforts to reproduce 
the same for the Register's pages have as yet been un- 
successful. It bears this legend, "Junction of River, 
Canal and Rail-road in Medford, 1S35." This locality is 
one specific point referred to in a recent address before 
the Historical Society, entitled " The Story of An An- 
cient Cow-Pasture." Request was then and there made 
for its publication. As the speaker compiled his story 
largely from the Register's pages, the reader is referred 
to them, and the present article will concern but the bor- 
der of the ''ancient cow-pasture," which is destined to 
become the scene of busy industry as well as of modern 
pleasure taking. 

As the " corner " previously described was not in the 
original Medford (i.e., Mr. Cradock's farm), so was this 
likewise a part of ancient Charlestown. That old town, 
once extensive and once entirely surrounding Medford, 
is now absorbed by Boston. Its cow-commons have been 
well defined by our townsman Hooper in his story of the 
"Stinted Pasture." Not until 1754 did Medford acquire 
this " corner," and even then not all the Charlestown 
proprietors became Medfordites. An examination of the 
map will show a serrated boundary line extending over 
and around College hill to a bend in the river, which was 
north of the railroad. Thence the boundary between 
Charlestown and Medford continued, as of old, by "the 
thread of the river" onward into Mystic lake. In 1850 
all of old Charlestown lying outside the " Neck " (at Sulli- 
van square) as far west as the Menotomy river was in- 
corporated as the town of Somerville. Thus it occurs 
that the old riverside cow-stints of that long-ago time 
are sandwiched in between precincts one and two of the 
sixth ward of Medford. To be strictly correct our cap- 
tion should be, " In" Another Corner of Medford and 
Somerville." Perhaps " In Somerville's Appe7idix " might 
not be inappropriate, and in "the interest of the local his- 
tory of both we may well look into the development 
of this section. Primarily it was the Indians' dwelling 


place. In aboriginal days Sagamore John dwelt there. 
It lay in the bend of the river below the tributary 

All annalists refer to Governor Winthrop's nocturnal 
adventure thereat. We have heard one insist that it 
occurred within present Somerville bounds. Possibly it 
did, yet we think it equally possible to have been on the 
Medford side, and certainly the Indian relics exhumed 
in the sixties were on the Medford hill slope. The gov- 
ernor's night vigil is the earliest recorded history we have 
of this quarter, but long thereafter nothing of special 
note. On this bleak northwestern exposure there was 
nothing of an inviting nature, and until within fifty years 
few dwellers made homes there. The marshes of vary- 
ing width bordered the Mystic, which was but little used 
as a waterway, though quite a little fishing was done 
therein, and enough in its tributary to relegate its In- 
dian name Menotomy to obscurity and substitute the 
prosaic one of Alewife brook. No road crossed the river 
between Cradock and Wear bridges until 1857, saving 
for a few years the Cambridge-Woburn road over the 
Broughton milldam just above the Menotomy. 

Save for a little ship-building above Cradock bridge, 
the view southerly from Rock hill could have differed 
little from that of aboriginal days, so far as human habi- 
tations were to be seen; only a few scattered dwellings. 

One was that of Rev. Smith, whose daughter Aba- 

gail became the second " first lady of the land," the wife 
of President John Adams. But with the opening of the 
nineteenth century, somewhat by the influence of Med- 
ford men and Medford capital, there came one of those 
artificial features the amateur artist tried to portray, the 
old waterway known as the Middlesex canal. It passed 
through Mr. Smith's domain in Medford, across the 
Charlestown marsh, over and beyond the river into Med- 
ford again. This is the first physical change we note in 
this other corner of Medford. The enterprise in its en- 
tirety was, for the time, a great undertaking. As origi- 


nally planned it would not have been in this quarter at 
all, as its southern end would have been at the upper 
end of Medford pond, as it was then called. To modern 
engineering, a mile of serpentine, shallow river would not 
be the serious obstruction it was then. So, contrary to 
the thought of the Medford promoters, the waterway was 
continued five miles further to Charlestown mill-pond, 
requiring the " Branch canal," constructed by another 
corporation, to connect with the river below Main street. 

Ten years had elapsed since Governor Hancock signed 
its charter (so much of an undertaking was it) when the 
thirty-foot ditch, up-hill from the Merrimack at Chelms- 
ford (Chumpsford they called it then) and down-hill from 
Billerica to the Charles, was completed. Then the water 
of Concord river was turned into it, and for fifty years 
laden boats passed to and fro. Rafts of timber from the 
forests of New Hampshire, oak timber to the Medford 
ship-yards, granite from Chelmsford and Tyngsboro, the 
great columns of the "long market" in Boston, with 
country produce of various kinds, floated quietly onward 
to their destination on its placid waters, which, like a 
silver ribbon, glinted in the sunshine as seen from the 
hill-tops. By this waterway not only the inland Middle- 
sex towns, but those of New Hampshire, went "down to 
the sea in ships " from as far north as Concord. 

In 1812 what is now a part of the busy city of Man- 
chester sent its first boat to Boston, which was hailed 
with interest all along the line as well as at its' arrival. It 
had a three mile journey overland prior to its launching 
in the Merrimack at Squog village, with forty yokes of 
oxen for motive power. It could lazily float down the 
river's current, and two horses harnessed tandem took it 
more quickly and were all the power needed on the canal. 
Those were busy, but quiet days in this other corner of 
Medford and Charlestown. The shouts of the boatmen 
and the sound of the signal-horn, as the locks were ap- 
proached were all that broke the silence of the retired spot. 

But people travelled on the canal too. Read what our 


ft V* 


4M fe 






- I 

m '< 




: j#m 


Medford school-master Dame wrote thirty-three years ago. 
See Register, Vol. I, p. 44. 

When feverish haste had not yet infected society, a trip over the 
canal in the passenger-packet, the Governor Sulliva?i must have 
been an enjoyable experience. Protected by iron rules from the 
danger of collision, undaunted by squalls of wind, realizing that 
should the craft be capsized he had nothing to do but walk ashore, 
the traveller speeding along at the leisurely rate of four miles per 
hour had ample time for observation and reflection. Seated, in 
summer under a spacious awning, he traversed the valley of the 
Mystic skirting the picturesque shores of Mystic pond. Instead cf 
a blurred landscape, vanishing, ghostlike, ere its features could be 
fairly distinguished, soft bits of characteristic New England scenery, 
clear cut as cameos, lingered caressingly on his vision — green mead- 
ows, fields riotous with blossomed clover, fragrant orchards and 
quaint old farmhouses, with a background of low hills wooded to 
their summits. Passing under bridges, over rivers, between high 
embankments and through deep cuttings, floated up-hill by a series 
of locks, he marvelled at this triumph of engineering, and if he were 
a director pictured the manufactures that were to spring up along 
this great thoroughfare, swelling its revenues for all time. 

People also sought pleasure there, as the last issue of 
the Register notes, and as Medford people recently gone 
from us have told with pleasant memories. 

But the investigating, progressive canal agent and man- 
ager of those early days had more rapid transit in view. 
Horses and oxen were too slow and over in England the 
power of steam had been utilized, while in Scotland it had 
been used with but little success on a canal. Up in the 
backwoods of New Hampshire a curious engine had been 
developed by an unlettered native genius, years before 
Fulton made his successful experiment on the Hudson. 
Canal manager Sullivan, with great visions of future in- 
land navigation by canal and river, had a boat equipped 
with an engine of this pattern ; and one day, a century 
ago, it came to Medford (as documents prove) and later, 
all the way to the New Hampshire capital. 

If the Medford boys went swimming at " Second beach " 
in those days, we may be sure there was a grand rush to 
the tow-path beside the river to see the novel sight. 


Novel it certainly was, for in 181S steamboat service had 
not obtained permanency in Boston harbor, though the 
next year a native of Medford (Rev. Charles Brooks) was 
instrumental in securing such service between Boston and 
Hingham. But certain it is, that this and other parts of 
Medford were the scene of the earliest steamboat days.* 

Captain Sullivan was nearly a century ahead of the 
times, for it is only within a few years that, even with the 
resources of the great state of New York, steam has been 
successfully used on its barge canals. 

Steam was destined to win on land, and some of the 
land is in this corner of Medford. One day, two horses 
slowly towed a canal boat up through Medford to the 
new town of Lowell which had arisen at the Pawtucket 
Falls of the Merrimack. That boat bore a new kind of 
freight, the various parts of the locomotive engine which 
the genius of Governor Sullivan and of the Medford 
capitalists had not foreseen. A lot of Walnut-tree hill, 
and rocks from Winter Hill had been carted onto the 
end of the bordering marsh making an embankment 
twenty feet high across it, and bridges built over the 
canal and river. 

The canal boats had been bringing granite blocks 
down from Chelmsford, and 

The strange spectacle was thus presented, perhaps for the first 
time, of a corporation assisting in the preparation for its own obse- 
quies. (Quoted from Lorin L. Dame.) 

One day (June 24, 1835) a curious array of uncouth ve- 
hicles came trundling on the iron rails laid on those 
granite blocks all the way from Lowell to Boston. With 
much exercise of patience, men unused to such work had 
assembled at Lowell the various parts of that nondescript 
freight, and a new era of transit and mode of travel was in- 
augurated. We use these words in order advisedly, as it is 
recorded that on the previous day, the mail was carried 
in this new way. Well, Uncle Sam's mail is supposed to 
have the right of way still. Whether called so then or 

*See Register, Vol. XVII, p. 92. 


not, compared with the all day canal ride of twenty-six 
miles this was certai?ily rapid transit. Within a few years 
American mechanics were building better engines in the 
Lowell machine shop and running them at the speed of 
a mile a minute through this corner of Medford, while 
Medford's people were accommodated by the little sta- 
tion house down the track called Medford Steps. The 
artificial features of water and railways crossing each 
other, and both crossing the river, changed the natural 
view in this corner somewhat, yet nature was kind, the 
tides ebbed and flowed as before, and ere long the em- 
bankments of both were grass grown, and the scars man 
had made were healed. With the coming of the rail 
way, began the water way's decadence; which was more 
pronounced as steam transit extended northward from 
Lowell. After a few years of profitless competition, the 
canal succumbed, the aqueduct over and the lock beyond 
the river began to go to ruin. Picturesque indeed they 
were, as ruins generally are, and finally, after twenty years 
of disintegration, gave way to the new thoroughfare of 
Boston avenue. But in all these years this corner had 
no dwelling places. A resident of West Medford* used 
it in the old time way, i.e., for a cow-pasture. One day 
in 1865, another! came over on the railroad bridge, set 
up his easel and made the sketch in oil, that well por- 
trays the decaying aqueduct, and which is preserved in 
the Historical Society's collection. The cows driven 
homeward by their owner's son are in evidence in the 
picture, and in the distance is the old house of Henry 
Dunster and the " spire of Menotomy." 

A few years later (1S70) Mr. Stevens moved into the 
new house he had erected in Medford, but his only neigh- 
bors were two families (in Somerville) one of whom came 
with the advent of the Charlestown water works in 1865. 
Only one had located on all the hill-slope, and that on 
Winthrop street, and for some years the reservoir on the 
hill-top was needlessly considered a menace. The growth 

* Mr. Charles C. Stevens. t Mr. Nathan Brown. 


of that section was very slow, even after Boston avenue 
was opened in 1873, an ^ which utilized the old abutments 
and piers built for the canal's crossing. Mr. Stevens still 
used the space beside the railroad, down to the Somer- 
ville line, for pasturage, and erected near his barn a silo, 
probably the first in Medford. 

One day the few dwellers at the Hillside (as it had 
begun to be called) and West Medford, across the river, 
awoke to the fact that a new industry was to be estab- 
lished in their midst — one of not the most desirable 
character. The odors of the vast cesspool which Boston 
had created by turning the tannery drainage of Winches- 
ter and Woburn into the lower Mystic lake were becom- 
ing extremely offensive, and here was likely to be another 
trouble in the Somerville appe?idix. The spur track to 
the pumping station lay just inside the line, curving away 
on the old canal bed. Over this, the raw material could 
come to the unattractive works of the Colonial Chemical 
Company, just erected for the manufacture of a "depila- 
tory " used in removing the hair from cattle hides. The 
adjoining marshland formed an excellent dumping-ground 
for its cinders and refuse. Unlike the human appendix, 
which is troublesome only to its owner, this caudal ap- 
pendage of ancient Charlestown, the tail-end, geographi- 
cally, of modern Somerville, bade fair to, and did, become 
a menace to adjoining Medford, such as offensive manu- 
factories usually become. For years it had a retarding 
influence upon the growth of the Hillside section of 
Medford, as in a few years the plant was enlarged and 
another building erected, into which a leather working 
concern came. This was located cornerwise to the rail- 
road and conformed to the old canal's course. It was 
later doubled in size and another story added to the 
whole. During the chemical business' stay, a residence 
was erected for the superintendent, larger and better than 
the first, thus increasing the Somerville residents to four 

In the interim between these constructions, at about 


■sr je» «mr ?«i wes ssmf*w$j *wt i psf3 sasfj pa^ ©^ -•^ T; ^JPK 



Built by Asa Sheldon. 


1895 a new enterprise was launched, this time in Med- 
ford bounds — a paper mill. Whether the projectors 
really thought that the little spring near the Hillside 
railroad station would add materially to its water supply 
or furnish power, is uncertain. A dike was built from 
North street some distance westward, and turning ex- 
tended to the railroad. In this was a bulkhead and 
diminutive water wheel. We have no remembrance of 
its ever being filled with water by the little brook that 
flowed beside the railroad and through the marsh to the 
river. An artesian well some two hundred feet deep 
was drilled in the rock strata; and in more recent years 
an iron pipe laid from the river bed across the marsh- 
land to these works, for supply. A large wooden build- 
ing with three parallel slated roofs, and an engine house 
of brick was erected ; but the paper manufacture never 
materialized. This product was to have been wrapping 
paper, and old newspaper stock was to have been util- 
ized by some new process. After a time the Lee Cycle 
Co. occupied the eastern corner, but moved away before 
accomplishing any results. 

Next, came Holmes & Smith, establishing the West 
Medford Laundry, but after a few months moving into 
other quarters. Then an automobile shop which got no 
further than the experimental stage. That business was 
then in its infancy; horseless car7-iage it was then called, 
and few people foresaw the extent to which it would 
grow. Next and for a few years, was the Fiber Manu- 
facturing Company, which made pails and cylindrical 
receptacles of compressed wood fiber. But none of these 
concerns occupied the entire building, and the last seemed 
to be doing some business, when the property changed 
hands. The original chemical works had ceased opera- 
tion, its plant was demolished and the cinder dump carted 
away to build sidewalks. About 19 10 came the Stone, 
Timlow Company with an increasing leather business 
combined with that of wool. In 19 12 the four-story 
brick factory (of mill construction), was erected, largely 


in Somerville. Some ten or a dozen feet of it are over 
in Medford and on this is located the Medford fire alarm 
whistle. Up to this period the canal bed and banks not 
obliterated by Boston avenue had remained intact and 
sometimes held a little water as seen in our illustration. 
But other changes not industrial had occurred both sides 
the city boundary line. 

The Metropolitan Park Commission made taking of 
land along the river and built the Parkway. In 1873 
Auburn street had crossed the river below " Second 
beach." Its bridge in a later state of decrepitude was 
discontinued after the new concrete arch was built, en 
which both street and parkway cross each other. The 
latter is but little above marsh level, this made possible 
by the Cradock dam. 

Several houses were removed and shacks (relics of the 
alewife fishing) were torn down, and a big hole dug in 
which the new bridge was built and beside it a sewer 
siphon. Before the arch was completed, and the con- 
tractors were ready to move the river, the impatient 
stream moved in itself, because the new channel ha'd 
been excavated too near the old for safety. The men 
and horses (unlike " the hosts of Pharaoh ") got out safely, 
but it took weeks of labor and no little expense to begin 
anew. With all the widening, deepening and shorten- 
ing of the river, insufficient material was obtained to fill 
the old channel, and " Second beach " in its present con- 
dition no longer invites the swimming boys. The rail- 
road embankment has been raised several feet and a fine 
concrete arch built, through which the parkway passes. 
During its erection, the unique construction of the rail- 
road, i.e., the four parallel walls beneath the rails were 
revealed. These were utilized in the rock-concrete 
foundation of the new bridge. It is said that "a thing 
of beauty is a joy forever." This bridge might be, but 
for the disfigurement it suffered at the hands of ill man- 
nered youth, of whom no city has reason to be proud, and 
whose conduct is becoming a public menace. 


In the elevation of the tracks, the granite arch (built 
by Asa Sheldon) disappeared. As there is nothing lost 
zuhen we k?ioiv where it is, we are confident that it is still 
intact. The present concrete bridge built over, under, 
and both sides, serves its purpose, but looks inferior to 
the other so near. It lacks the character and rugged 
beauty of the old time structure. 

By the " taking" by the Park Commission, the Welch 
Express stable just beside "Canal bridge" disappeared. 
Possibly sometime its driven well may be unearthed and 
utilized — and people wonder how it came there. 

In 1902 the street railway was built on Boston avenue, 
after the present granite arch had been constructed. 
The three piers of Chelmsford granite, built in 1827 by 
the canal company, were used in the new bridge over the 
Menotomy at Broadway, but the boulder abutments of 
1800 still remain. But before this time, the Arlington- 
Lexington sewer was constructed through the ledge be- 
neath the parkway, through the old canal bed, and across 
the marsh on pile and timber support, and siphons be- 
neath the river below the bridge. 

In 1910 the Hillside section had a real estate boom, 
and the erection of two and three apartment houses, and 
one story store property went on apace. This contin- 
ued until war-time, but ceased with prohibitive high cost 
of building. But one exception should be noticed. 
Early in 1918 the American Woolen Company acquired 
the factory site, marsh land and buildings of the Stone 
Timlow Company and at the present writing is just com- 
pleting a five story storehouse of reinforced concrete of 
the most substantial construction. This is entirely on 
the marsh land and wholly within the Somerville part 
of the " corner." 

This structure is intended mainly for storage of the 
raw material or "waste," which is brought from the various 
plants of the concern, to be reworked in the other build- 
ings already mentioned or to be erected. It is the most 
radical change this part of the old cow-pasture has ex- 
perienced in all its history. The works, w r hen completed, 


will employ several hundred persons of both sexes, who 
will require places of abode and education of their chil- 
dren. Thus both Medford and Somerville will find added 
problems to solve. In years agone, but within memory, 
conditions had been unsavory in the Somerville corner. 
A slaughter-house was on the old rangeway for many 
years. At about 1S74 a hill below it was devoted to dry- 
ing hog-bristles. Later this hill was all dug down and 
carted away, and to its place was moved the Somerville 
pest-house. This remained for a period of years beside 
the serpentine, sluggish Alewife brook. This latter had 
been receiving the refuse and filth of Tannery brook, 
with its adjoining marshes a foot lower than those a 
mile down stream. Little wonder that malaria was in an 
alarming increase. One day the writer noticed an un- 
usual stir about the pest-house, and an orderly crowd 
gathering. Approaching nearer he was in time to see 
one of the city officials apply the torch thereto, and wit- 
nessed its destruction. A little later, the Powder House 
boulevard and Somerville field were constructed in its 
locality. Next, the hill-slope up to the zigzag boundary 
line was built over with dwellings. 

While the cow-pasture lines remain intact in our muni- 
cipal boundaries, we wonder, sometimes, about those in 
"the thread of the river." Both the Mystic and Men- 
otomy, which divide Somerville from Medford and 
Arlington, now flow in channels other than those of ten 
years ago; but as they flow within the Park Commis- 
sion's jurisdiction, there is little chance of either private 
or municipal disagreement. 

Another allusion to that crude portrayal of this Med- 
ford-Somerville corner. While it depicted the " river, 
canal and railroad," it also showed, hovering overhead, a 
balloon. We wondered quite a little at such portrayal, 
but of late have queried if it were not really so, for at 
about those years we find mention in the papers of aero- 
naut Lauriat and his balloon ascensions. It maybe that 
it was even so. Be that as it may, on the evening of 

A «£9 ' " " 

, I 

C 'V r • ■•■ ' ' ' - ' ".■• 

*; *V '■'■'- 

f^J ■ . 

r M'\'-^ ■ ■' ' '- ! 

F$'.r?&.\£ m -- " 3 

fc-T-ST'^ %*! /-'• • , - -, 

# >-^ ""■-'- 


- -'V 

. f_ 

"**.* *&■ -""-''■ 

4*^Cfk'ij ''V s - V--'- ■ 

>«Nf-*- '. -; 

' ; - — V *" 

"V""' ArV - J.r" 


" ^^V^ . 

i :«. ; ' 

• A* f „ _ 


p l^jifp 

^• ; v i 

•■ ' :; _.i^ 





1 — 








& ■:.' 


! | 

*& i 


*• ■ 


" j» 



July 4, 191 1, the writer witnessed the flight of an air- 
plane over this same quarter, as did the great company 
assembled about " Somerville field." Contrast this last 
occasion with the night vigil of Gov. John Winthrop, 
only a few rods away, on October 11, 1630, if you will. 
Contrast the horseless carriage, or "steam buggy," first 
seen in Boston streets in 1S66, with the uncounted auto- 
mobiles that pass over the Mystic Valley parkway in this 
other corner of Medford and Somerville, think of what 
may, ere long, be in the air over it, and — finish this 
story at some later date. 


The American Woolen Company have located their 
new plant in West Medford for the reclaiming of wool 
waste, worsted waste, and other by-products of a woolen 
and worsted mill. We are the first textile manufacturers 
to take up this branch. 

Wool Production. 

Sheep thrive in every civilized country of the world. 
As far back as history records, herding of sheep and 
growing of wool have claimed the attention of the human 
race. It has always been recognized that wool possesses 
certain qualities for which no substitute can be found. 
No other fibre has the spinning and felting properties 
combined with health and warmth giving characteristics 
so necessary for the protection of the human body. 

For wools used in the manufacture of wearing apparel 
we, in competition with the rest of the world, must bid 
in markets of Australia, New Zealand, Argentine, Ura- 
guay and British South Africa. These are the world's 
producing areas where the clip is not used for domestic 
manufacturing, but is available for export to countries 
which have the equipment to convert this wool into 
the finished products. 


Nineteen sixteen was the world's greatest year for pro- 
duction of wool, with the following amounts produced 
for export. Australia, New Zealand, 644,000,000 greasy 
or 353,000,000 scoured; British South Africa, 157,000,000 
greasy or 52,000,000 scoured; Argentine, Uruguay, 
409,000,000 greasy or 245,000,000 scoured. 

What Shoddy Is. 

In the popular conception, shoddy typifies that which 
is undesirable. The word is a synonym of inferiority, 
subterfuge and deceit. The public is accustomed to 
condemn where it does not understand, and it seems de- 
sirable that some light should be shed to clear up this 
misconception in the use of shoddy. The word shoddy 
is derived from shod, meaning a parting or separation. 

Before cloth can be woven the wool must first be spun 
into yarn which is either woolen or worsted, depending 
both on process and the raw materials used. Worsted 
yarn must be made from virgin wool which is combed 
so the fibres lie parallel along the length of the yarn. 
Such yarn can be utilized in a fabric where strength and 
durability are desired rather than warmth and impervi- 
ousness. Woolen yarn is made from wool fibres, and 
instead of combing, the process of carding is used, which 
interlaces, mixes and crisscrosses the fibre to the maxi- 
mum possible. Such a yarn is more lofty, and permits 
felting and locking of the individual strands of yarn 
when they are woven, thereby producing a cloth which 
is less porous than worsted cloth but not necessarily so 
strong. It is not only desirable that woolen cloth be 
made from yarn which has both long and short fibres, 
but it is essential that such be the case if a compact, air- 
tight fabric is to be produced, the longer fibre providing 
the strength and the shorter ones filling up the spaces 
and binding the contiguous yarns in a piece of cloth. 

The first by-product of a worsted mill is noils. These 
are short wool fibres combed out of wool to be spun into 
a worsted yarn. Noils form the most important raw 


stock in a woolen mill. As the wool progresses through 
its various stages in the manufacture of cloth, minor 
wastes appear, such as card waste, flyings, and strippings, 
and although this wool fibre has not been subjected to 
wear and tear of usage, it can be only utilized in a woolen 
mill, as it is neither virgin wool nor noils and is classed 
as shoddy. 

Real shoddy, however, as it is understood, consists of 
fragments of cloth or other wool material which has to 
be picked preparatory to its use on woolen cards. From 
the tailor's clips which are left after his patterns are cut, 
is derived an important source of shoddy. Shoddy is as 
good or as bad as the cloth from which it is derived. 
So on down the scale to frayed and worn-out stockings, 
which have been discarded to the ragman ; to the cotton 
and wool mixtures which have to be carbonized and neu- 
tralized to eliminate the vegetable matter; these are the 
sources of the shoddy supply. 

If it were not for re-worked wool there would not be 
enough wool in the world to clothe the human race. 


We are gladly presenting a communication, inadvert- 
ently overlooked by a former editor, and which has but 
recently come to our notice. Its author, Abijah Thomp- 
son, was, at the time of writing and for some years, a 
member of the Medford Historical Society, and its 
library received many accessions from him. He was a 
native of Woburn, his ancestors being early settlers 
there. The locality which he describes has not alto- 
gether outgrown the name of Thompso7iville. 

Two brooks converged there, and his forebears con- 
served the water power, establishing a leather business. 
The oak-tanned leather of A. Thompson & Co. had a 
wide reputation for its standard quality. His uncle 
Abijah, for whom he was named, was the senior partner 


and bore the military title of General, though it was ac- 
quired in " the piping times of peace." His father, Benja- 
min Franklin, removed to South Woburn, establishing 
himself there in the leather business. He also had a 
title, as he was chosen deacon of the Congregational 
Church, which was formed in this new section of Wo- 
burn, which in 1850, with slices of West Cambridge and 
Medford territory, became the town of Winchester. 

Deacon Benjamin Thompson continued in office and 
in business until 1864, and was succeeded in the latter by 
his sons Abijah and Stephen. The former was especially 
interested in historic matters, and paid much attention 
to the preservation of the annals of his native and later 
home towns. We recall that in the '60s he planned for 
the erection of a residence beside the Aberjona, laying 
out a miniature park, planting trees and building bridges 
across the stream. But for some reason he ceased work 
there and erected a pleasant dwelling-place in the west 
part of the town and there resided for many years. In 
the former place he was years in advance of the times ; 
but present " Manchester field " is the site of his father's 
factory, and the improved Aberjona, with its island and 
bridges, is a part of the Metropolitan park system. 

When the Winchester Historical Society was in opera- 
tion he was interested in its work. For some years he 
was mainly instrumental in publishing the Winchester 
Press. The weekly issues of that paper contained many 
articles written by him, or secured by him from others, 
which form a highly interesting narrative and trust- 
worthy basis of a town history.* 

This must have been a labor of love on the part of 
Abijah Thompson, appreciated by some of his townsmen 
— and unappreciated by many others. 

The Winchester Historical Society is now inoperative, 
but during its active days published two volumes which 
contain much of interest, including papers read at its 

* In the library of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society 
these articles, clipped from the Press, are carefully arranged in order, 
mounted on blank paper and suitably bound in book form under the title of 
History of Winchester, Mass. 

1919.] GLEANINGS. 41 

meetings. The Press ceased publication after a few 
years, but during its issue, through Mr. Thompson's 
efforts, preserved much of local history. He doubtless 
experienced some pleasure and satisfaction in so doing, 
and his " Gleanings " in this issue of the Register shows 
that he did not confine his effort and interest to his home 
town. But at last, as the burden of years was upon him, 
he gave up his congenial tasks. His last days were of 
physical weakness, and spent with relatives in our city, 
where he recently passed away. 

Who will take up his favorite work and fill the blanks 
in his " Gleanings " of nearly twenty years ago ? " 


Among the pleasant memories of the past, are many 
scenes that transpired during our youthful days. A 
striking figure on the stage of recollection is Nathan 
Childs, the village baker, who had his shop in the good 
old town of Medford. He drove his cart through the 
streets from door to door, and continued on through the 
neighboring towns. In Woburn town, on Pleasant street, 
there stood a cluster of houses, at the junction of two 
streets, one of which led directly to Lexington — that 
town of historic fame — while the other wound its way 
to Burlington, the town that protected Hancock and 
Adams, while the British soldiers marched to Concord. 

The coming and going of Nathan Childs to and from 
this little group of neighbors, was like the old clock that 
stood in the corner of the family room — tick, tick, strike, 
all the day long, always on time. Nathan Childs had an 
eye to business — he was a friend to the old and the 
young. His cart was not unlike other bakers' carts, 
while the jingle of the old sleigh bells was heard from 
afar. He was always ready to share his seat with one 
or more, and was sure to treat them to his good old- 
fashioned molasses gingerbread. 

One day, a new sound was heard in the distance — 
music came floating through the air, when lo and behold ! 
there appeared a new cart painted in gaudy colors, a new 

42 GLEAXIXGS. [April, 

horse and a new harness. Attached to the saddle was 
a chime of bells discoursing silvery music to the ear. 
Painted upon the cart, in imitation of his shop, was the 
partially open door, over which we read Nathan Childs, 
Baker. There was the painted sash and the green blinds, 
the shingle roof and the old red brick chimney, all as 
natural as life, and mounted upon his seat, sat Nathan 
Childs, monarch of all he surveyed. Keith of Keith's 
Theatre fame, in this our day, with his advertising 
scheme of the four-in-hand with its numberless chimes 
of bells ringing through the streets, is far behind the 
times. Nathan Childs led the van, while those of today 
simply follow on. On the muster field, at the cattle 
shows, and at the auctions, Nathan Childs was sure to 
be found. On the day that Massachusetts went to Con- 
cord and fought there the great battle for the election of 
President William Henry Harrison, Nathan Childs was 
seen in that countless throng that followed the great ball 
as it rolled on, while in the rear came the log cabins, the 
hard cider and the striped pig. Nathan Childs gained 
the field, and upon it, he rang out his chime of bells. 
The country lads and lasses were soon eating that good 
old-fashioned molasses gingerbread. 

One day Nathan Childs disappeared — he never came 
again. On looking for his epitaph, we find in the His. 
tory of Medford the following tribute by the historian . 

" Mr. Childs continued to sell bread in the neighboring towns, 
for a long time. Many of our Medford people have pleasant memo- 
ries of the genial countenance and kind words of Nathan Childs, 
the deaf baker, who went from house to house, with his ear trumpet 
in hand, bound to hear precisely what his customers ordered, and 
sure to fill all orders." 

Who can fill the blanks? 

Nathan Childs. 
b. d. 


b. d. 

Lies buried in 


1919.] 43 


Shall we have a League of Nations, 

To uphold the cause of right? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

To efface the sway of might? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

Peace and justice to instill? 
With one accord the whole world answers, 
" A League of Nations? Yes, we will ! We will ! We will ! " 

Shall we have a League of Nations, 

Save for home, our boys, our men ? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

Sheathe the sword, and wield the pen? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

Arbitrate, and cease to kill? 
With one accord the whole world answers, 
" A League of Nations? Yes, we will ! We will ! We will ! " 

Shall we have a League of Nations, 

To protect the great and small? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

All for one, and one for all ? 
Shall we have a League of Nations, 

Cherished ideals to fulfill ? 
With one accord the whole world answers, 
" A League of Nations? Yes, we will ! We will ! We will ! " 

Copyright, /QlQ, Edith Rojean Orne. 


Friday, February 22, 18S4. 
The town hall question is likely to be brought up at the March 
meeting, with a prospect of receiving a fair hearing from all citizens 
prepared to consider the reasons for or against this important pro- 
ject. If there is evident need of a new hall — and who has heard 
an expression contrary to it? — why should we not at this time take 
the necessary steps toward securing the desired object? What is 
in the way? Can't the town afford it? Will it be in better condi- 
tion five or ten years hence? As to location, public opinion quite 
prominently sets strongly in the direction of the Dr. Swan estate, 
now owned by the town. It is so near the square that the argu- 
ment of the necessity of placing it exactly thereon loses much of 
its force, as everybody knows there is no overpowering reason why 
the square should be considered the only fit place for the edifice. 
In the interest of economy, we ought to decide this prominent and 
beautiful situation to be our best situation. 

©i (iters; for tfje gear 1919. 





Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. 


Recording Secretary. Curator and Librarian. 





i§>tanbing Committees 

Moses W. Mann. 
Miss Helen T. Wild. 


Miss Eliza M. Gill. 
C. W. M. Blanchard. 
Frederic Dole. 



Edward M. Peters. 
Miss Elizabeth R. Carty. 
Mrs. Ella J. Fuller. 
Abner H. Barker. 
Mrs. H. A. C. Scott. 
William Leavens. 

J. A. C. Emerson. 
Andrew F. Curtin. 
E. Earl Blakely. 
Miss Annie E. Durgin. 
Mrs. Lester H. Williams. 
Miss Annie P. Danforth. 
Frank S. Gilkey. 

Percy W. Richardson. 

Papers and Addresses. 

George H. Remele. Percy W. Richardson. 

Moses W. Mann. Miss Katharine H. Stone. 

Miss Annie E. Durgin. Mrs. John Googins. 

J. P. D. Wingate. F. H. C. Wooley. 

Miss Lily B. Atherton. Wilson Fiske. 

Historic Sites. 

Herman L. Buss. 
Miss Catherine E. Harlow 
Miss Ella L. Burbank. 

Moses W. Mann. 
John H. Hooper. 

Miss Eliza M. Gill. 
Miss Annie E. Durgin. 

Charles B. Dunham. 
John Albree. 



Miss Hetty F. Wait. 
Henry E. Scott. 

Charles H. Loomis. 
Charles M. Green. 
C W. M. Blanchard. 

Library and Collection. 

George H. Remele. 
Miss Agnes W. Lincoln. 
Miss Martha E. Hayes. 
Miss Lily B. Atherton. 
Rosewell B. Lawrence. 

Moses W. Mann. 

William Cushing Wait. 
Miss Elizabeth W. Howe. 


Melvin W. Pierce. 
Frederic H. Dole. 



C. H. Loom is. 

Delegates to Bay State Historical League. 

Regular. Alternate. 

Melvin W. Pierce. Miss Annie E. Durgin. 

Mrs. John Googins. George H. Remele. 

Miss Elizabeth R. Carty. Miss Agnes W. Lincoln, 







■AS iff "'• 



1 - 

1 £ 

I H 


, V 


The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXII. 

JULY, 1919. 

No. 3. 

/^^yXIpORa violated treaty the reader will 

^j^^j'^ g* * °k ^ ere * n va ^ n ' t> ut ma y ^ n< ^ 

something relating to Medford, sug- 
gested by a ragged sheet of paper legi- 
bly written upon more than a century 
ago. It is one of several furnished us 
by the late Francis A. Wait, who wrote: 

You can put this in the Register if you 
see fit. Mr. Blanchard's hotel was just south 
of Cradock bridge. A portion of the house is 
standing now on Main street. 

For a better understanding of it, a backward look is 
worth while. Medford in 1805 had but little more than 
eleven hundred inhabitants. The most direct route of 
travel from northern and eastern New England con- 
verged in its market place and passed over the river to- 
ward Boston. Ship-building had just been established 
on the river; the Middlesex Canal, only completed two 
years before, was in operation; the cracker bakery just 
started on its successful career; and business enough to 
require a clerk of the market in 1801. There were several 
taverns for accommodation of travellers, and the product 
of several distil-houses had acquired a more than local 

Tradition has it 

That a man named Blanchard who had connections in Maiden, 
was the first to set up a distillery in Medford. It was on the south 
side of the river. . . . afterward used by Hezekiah Blanchard the 
innholder, who distilled anise-seed, snake-root and clove-water. 


While authentic history places Andrew Hall's begin- 
ning of the rum making in 1735, it also credits this same 
Hezekiah Blanchard with a similar plant a little farther 
away behind Dead Man's alley, otherwise River street. 

Certain it is, that the latter was engaged both in tavern- 
keeping and distilling in 1796, as appears in his adver- 
tisement in the Columbian Centinel of September 3. It 
stated that in the old house which he had enlarged and 
given the name of Union Hall, there was 

every convenience to promote festivity and happiness; the house is 
furnished with the best of Wine, Porter and other Liquors, and 
every kind of refreshment called for can be supplied, . . . and 
those who are fond of an afternoon's excursion for amusement 
and exercise can be accommodated .... the distance from Boston 
not so long as to occasion fatigue, and long enough to promote 

The advertisement informed the public that its " hum- 
ble servant " also made the best of spirits and would 
sell, both wholesale and retail at reasonable prices. 

With the opening of the new century, he was suc- 
ceeded by his son Hezekiah, who upon the father's death 
in 1803 dropped the distinguishing Junior, signing his 
given name abbreviated, but with a spreading flourish 
beneath, as appears on his bill, which we note. He 
continued the business until his death in 18 18. 

Till 1804, the bridge across the river was but little 
above full tide and had no draw, and only Salem and 
High Streets were the outward country roads, what was 
later Ship Street being only local. 

With increasing business, the Medford turnpike road 
across the marsh to Charlestown had been built in 1803 
to do away with the tedious haul over Winter Hill, and 
in 1804 the project of another and shorter route to 
Andover was agitated, resulting in the charter on June 15, 
1805, of the Andover and Medford Turnpike. The cor- 
porators, according to the Brooks history, were Jona- 
than Porter, Joseph Hurd, Nathan Parker, Oliver Holden 
and Fitch Hall. The meager account we have of 


1919]. SCRAPS OF PAPER. 47 

its construction and history shows it in marked con- 
trast to the other. The former, with everything of 
material to be carted onto and sinking into the salt- 
marsh, continually needing repair, was maintained as a 
toll road till 1867. This latter (shortening the distance 
three miles and opening new territory for improvement 
in Medford), with plenty of the best material at hand for 
building and repair, was never a profitable investment, 
and as early as 1828 was offered for sale. No buyers ap- 
pearing, it became, in 183 1, a free road in all the towns 
wherein it was located. In Medford it became the beau- 
tiful Forest street. Just who were the first Board of 
Directors we may not say, very likely the gentlemen 
above named, the first and last being of Medford. What 
more convenient place for their gathering for business 
than the well appointed inn of mine host Hezekiah 
Blanchard ? And so this old time-worn bill of his comes 
to us, a mute witness of men and times long gone. 
Here it is; we bespeak for this carefully made copy a 
critical reading. 

The Directors for the Andover & Medford Turnpike Road 

To Hez h Blanchard Dr d cents 

Nov br To 4 Botwls Ginn Toddy is/6d 
To 8 Suppers 2s/3d 
To 1 Bottle wine 4s/6d 

Dec br 2 To 4 Breakfasts 2s/3d 
To i Pint Bitters is/6d 

To 9 Dinners 2s/3d To 3 Bowls Toddv is/6d 
To 1 Bowl Toddv is/6d To Bating 4 Horss 


n To 1 Bowl Toddy is/6d To 1 mug flip 
To 1 Pint Brandy 3s/ To Bating 2 hors 

21 To 3 Bowls Toddv 1/6 To 6 Dinner 2/3 
To 1 Pint Ginn 3s/d To Bating 4 horse 
To 1 Pint Ginn 3s/d To 1 Pint for Ditto 3s/ 
To 1 Pint for Ditto 3s/d To 1 Bowl for 

Ditto 1/6 
To Bating horses is/6d 




1 50 

4 12 









Jany To Col n Warner Expenses in Town I 45 

1S06 Apr 5 To 5 Dinners 2/3 to Brandy Toddv 2 17 

To 3 Bowls toddy is/6d To 1 Glafs Toddy S7 

To Bating 1 hors 1/6 25 

8 & 10 To the Directors Bill for Five Dollars & 82 cents 5.S2 

24 To 4 Bowls Toddy 1/6 To Bating 4 horses 1.67 

deduct Warners expenses - 1.45 

deduct Clerks bill 4.22 

To charge in the Corporation bill dated Feb. 3 1S06 23. 87 
which should be charged to the Directors 6. 

May 2 2 d 1S06 

Rec'd the above in full 

Heze h Blanchard 


As may be noted, its date is the first year of the cor- 
poration's existence. Very likely the directors met then 
to discuss ways and means and to ride thence over the 
course of the new road on tours of inspection. 

Evidently by the number of suppers there were eight 
present at the November gathering, and we may wonder 
which four had the " Ginn Toddv," and which other four 
were content with the one bottle of wine. 

Incidentally we notice that the initial charge is written 
To 4 Bo — then a t crossed several times — wis. The 
English money reckoning was still in vogue, as it was 
somewhat within our remembrance. " Two and thrip- 
pence " was the charge for the " eats " at Blanchard's, 
morning, noon and night alike. Probably December 2 
was a cold morning, but the four directors that had 
breakfast were fortified (or thought they were), by the 
modest allowance of one pint of bitters, ere they set out 
on the rocky road by Spot Pond. 

But they came back with reinforcements, for nine 
sat down to dinner, and, strange to say, on\y four bowls 


1919.] SCRAPS OF PAPER. 49 

of toddy. As Blanchard had " Entertainment for Man 
and Beast " the charge of " one and six " for " Horss " 
completed the charge for that day, each day's charge being 
separated by a line drawn across the unruled page. 

The next charge is interesting; two horses did the 
eating and (presumably two) men the drinking, the par- 
ticular "vanity" of one being a mug of flip, probably 
smaller than the toddy bowl, but same price. We have 
been asked "What was flip?" Well, it was hot stuff, 
so was toddy; but flip was heated by the insertion of a 
red hot poker into the contents of the mug when served 
to the guest. 

We fail to note any difference in the price of " Ginn " 
and brandy in the raw, but the director who indulged in 
brandy toddy was taxed five cents more than for the de- 
coction from gin. 

It is too late to rectify mistakes (for the innkeeper 
has been dead a century), but he forgot to insert in 
charge column three dollars for three toddys and six din- 
ners, and made a slight error in his footing. 

It would be interesting to know w r ho Col. Warner was, 
and the items of his " expense in town " that was over- 
looked at the time, later charged, and at last deducted. 
He may have been an adviser or engineer, and so a guest 
of the directors. If so, why the final deduction? And 
why the deduction of " Clerks bill, $4.22 "? 

On the back of this old scrap of paper are two "exam- 
ples in short division," 6)2954 7)2954 

492 422 

Why this division of the total of the bill by seven ? 
and amount of that quotient deducted instead of the one 
evidently first made. 

Possibly the final entry may explain. By that entry 
it appears that the innkeeper had a separate bill against 
the turnpike company, and had erroneously charged six 
dollars to the company on February 3. The "clerk" 
might not have been a director, but an employee of the 
company, meeting with the directors, who may have 

50 SCX A PS OF PAPER. [July, 

numbered six. For want of any such bills, we are led to 
infer that the directors of the Andover Turnpike paid 
collectively their own expenses, and the company those 
of the clerk and Col. Warner. If so they were unlike 
those of the Middlesex Canal whose accounts show 
" wines, lemons, sugar, trucking same, and broken tumb- 
lers," " for the directors party." 

Much has been written about that famous old water- 
way, and it is still a favorite and interesting subject, but 
little has been written of this last outlet of travel from 
Medford square. 

In the library of the Historical Society is a framed 
•picture of the old toll house, made long after its use as 
such. Its Medford milestones still remain ; the second 
one, because of the thoughtful interest taken by one not 
a resident of Medford. This old bill of Blanchard's w T ill 
find a place beside the picture, as one of the few tangi- 
ble reminders of the enterprise of Medford's solid men 
at the opening of the nineteenth century. Its itemized 
charges show $4.50 for baiting horses, and of the $17.83 
for the men, $8.09 was for their liquid refreshment that 
in those days was deemed so essential; and the three 
items in lump sum probably in the same proportion. 
But how would the site of Union hall appear to its pro- 
prietor could he see it today? No ginn toddy, bitters or 
flip at any price, no " bating hors," but more automobiles 
in twenty-four hours than horses in a year then, and no 
walking out from Boston for exercise. 

Jonathan Porter would look with delight upon the elm 
arched vista of Forest street, and turning about find 
his old home, the only thing of that day remaining, 
changed somewhat, but still recognizable. Col. Fitch 
Hall could find the old mansions a little way up High 
street. Both did well in projecting and building the 
Andover Turnpike, one hundred and fourteen years ago. 

An Older Scrap. 
At the May meeting of the Historical Society, Presi- 
dent Charles E. Mann of the Maiden society read an in- 

1919.] SCRAPS OF PAPER. 51 

teresting paper with the now world famous caption. 
The scrap of paper in that case we reproduce in this 
issue. The Edward Collins named therein was Med- 
ford's " first land speculator " — who purchased the 
Cradock farm. It is significant that the dwelling was 
styled " Medeford House." Henry Dunster (first presi- 
dent of Harvard College) also mentioned therein and 
associated with Collins — owned the land and dwelling 
on the opposite side of the river (now Arlington)* and in 
one of his and Increase Nowell's leases the lessee was to 

pay £3 per year in wheat and barley at 4s per bushel, delivered at 
Medeford House twice each year; the first payment to be in 1648. 

The lease was for fifteen years and the property was 
in Lynn. 

Mr. Mann said 

A strange thing about this interesting document is that it should 
have led to such drastic proceedings, when one considers the fact 
that the immediate parties were all dead. Joseph Hills had done 
absolutely nothing for which he deserved arrest, neither had Edward 
Collins, who was an early settler of Cambridge and a most useful 
man in that community and in Medford. Henry Dunster, whose 
estate they represented, was dead. Deputy Governor, John 
Humphry, the owner . . . incidentally of Wind-Mill Hill [in Lynn 
where the leased property was] was also dead ; Rev. Jose Glover, 
the man whose loan of So pounds to John Humphry, led to all the 
trouble, was so long dead that his name scarcely finds a place in 
the proceeding. 

Another interesting thing in this old scrap of paper 
is that Maiden's constable was dignified by the title of 
" Marshall Generall," in 1662. 

On the Level Road. 

More modern, but still almost ninety years old is 
another scrap, a souvenir of the Medford turnpike. This 
relic was also furnished by Mr. Wait, antedating his own 

In Vol. XI V. p. 4, (Register) may be found Mr. Wait's 
account of Medford Milkmen, and his own experience on 

♦See Register, Vol. XIII., p. 9. 


the Smith " milkcart." The "milkcarts" of 1829, were 
later known as mWkwagons, and those built at the upper 
end of the turnpike had an enviable reputation for dura- 
bility. Their makers have kept abreast of the times, 
and their products, both horse drawn and motor driven, 
are in marked contrast to those that passed the old toll 
gate in 1829. 

The Estate of Mr. Elijah Smith 

to the Proprietors of the Medford Turnpike. Dr. 
Toll for milk cart. Pafsing from June 22, 1S29, to January 1, 
1830. $5- J 9 

By cash 2.00 


1830, July 5, Reed. Payment for the Proprietors 

James Kidder. 

By this scrap of paper it appears that the toll levied 
for the daily passage of such vehicles was ten dollars 
per year, and that the rule of " cash before carting " or 
payment in advance, had not then been fully established. 
Whoever rides over the Mystic avenue of today, finds 
far better conditions, though there is still room for im- 
provement. Several railroad schemes, upon and beside 
it, have been broached, but none have materialized. 
Meanwhile Medford is slowly expanding, and some day 
will see, instead of the tide-mill and pond and the later 
racetrack, buildings devoted to business use along both 
sides of the old Medford turnpike. 

When that shall be, those who use the old pike will 
miss the bleak prospect we had there in i860. In com- 
pany with some forty schoolmates from another town, 
returning from a sleigh ride to the Navy Yard and State 
Prison, the ride was along this road. The wind was bit- 
terly cold, and the tumbled-up ice on the salt marsh a 
novelty to many of the company. The memory of that 
dreary portion of the excursion still lingers. The driver 
paid the toll. But five years earlier the same boy, re- 
turning from Boston by wagon, asked why a second toll ? 

1919.] MEMORIAL DAW 53 

and received the reply, "You didn't think I was going 
over that hill with this load, did you ? " The longer road 
over Winter Hill took horse power, and for a century 
and a half the travel had been that way. Possibly the 
opening of the canal in 1S03 and the easy haulage of 
heavy-laden boats by only two horses thereon may have 
suggested and hastened the building of the turnpike road 
in 1804. 


May 23 and 24, 1865. Imagine yourself in Washing- 
ton. A column of soldiers thirty miles in length is pass- 
ing by. Can you see those regiments from the east and 
west, those men from the Potomac, from the Cumber- 
land, from the Wilderness, from Chattanooga, as they 
march down Pennsylvania avenue from the Capitol with 
their bayonets flashing and battle flags flying? You are 
witnessing one of the greatest spectacles ever seen in 
America — a grand review of the Union armies before 
the troops are mustered out of service. 

Bonds of comradeship such as these veteranshad formed 
by their four years of service and sacrifice are not easily 
broken however, and soon local organizations sprang 
up for the purpose of fostering these friendships and of 
honoring the memory of those who had given their lives 
to preserve the Union. This movement soon became 
nation-wide, and in 1866 a great national organization 
was founded under the name of the "Grand Army of 
the Republic," with state departments and local posts. 
The first post was organized at Decatur, 111., April 6, 

The organization w T as a fraternal, charitable, and patri- 
otic association, composed exclusively of soldiers and 
sailors of the United States army, navy, and marine 
corps who served during the Civil War and had been 
honorably discharged. The underlying idea of the 
founder, Dr. B. F. Stevenson, was to have a grand or- 

54 MEMORIAL DAY. [July, 

ganization of veterans so united by feelings of loyalty 
and duty that it would be a powerful factor against 
treason to our government. 

On the fifth of May, 1868, Commander-in-Chief John 
A. Logan of the Grand Army issued a general order 
designating the thirtieth of May, 1868, "for the purpose 
of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the 
graves of comrades who died in defense of their country 
during the late rebellion." He did this with the hope 
that it would be kept up from year to year. Already in 
some of the southern states the women had laid their 
flowers on the graves of the Confederate dead to show 
their devotion to the " Lost Cause," but in the north 
there was no fixed date till 1868. In 1882 the Grand 
Army urged that May thirtieth be " Memorial Day," not 
" Decoration Day," as it had commonly been called. 
Since 1910 it has been a legal holiday in most of the 
states and territories. 

" Memorial Day " is something more than a decoration 
day. Every national day is a memorial day. Such days 
should teach us to feel more strongly our duty to our 
country. They should fill us with enthusiasm and love 
for our native land; they should bring home to us more 
vividly the sacrifices of our fathers, and should make us 
realize that upon us devolves the task of carrying on the 
work which they began. 

It has been said that the declaiming of Webster's 
patriotic sentiments by the school boys of the north pre- 
pared them to take up arms to defend the Union in '61. 
May we not with equal truth say that the splendid patri- 
otic work of the " Grand Army of the Republic " pre- 
pared our boys for '98, and for the late World War? 

But fifty years is a long period in a man's life, and 
comparatively few of those who marched with the " Boys 
of '6i " are with us today. There is no recruiting office 
in the Grand Army, and when the last member joins his 
comrades in the Grand Reunion will " Memorial Day " 
become obsolete ? No, the " Spanish War Veterans," the 

1919.] MEMORIAL DAY. 55 

new "American Legion," and other affiliated organiza- 
tions are making themselves such a vital force that 
Memorial Day will continue to be a day of veneration, 
of faith, of triumph. Its future is secure. 

Memorial Day in Medford. 

May 30, 1919, was an ideal day. The memorial exer- 
cises for the day were in charge of Samuel C. Lawrence 
Post, 66, G. A. R. 

This Post, with other affiliated organizations, formed 
at Grand Army hall, and joined by members of the city 
government, marched to Oak Grove cemetery, where 
the usual Memorial Day services were held. This year 
they were particularly impressive. From Oak Grove 
the march was resumed, and the Cross street and Salem 
street cemeteries were visited and the graves of comrades 
decorated. Returning to Grand Army hall, a dinner 
was served by the Women's Relief Corps and the 
Daughters of Veterans to the members of the Grand 
Army and the Sons of Veterans. 

Year by year the thinning ranks of the Grand Army 
remind us that half a century has passed since the close 
of the Civil War; but on this "Memorial Day" years 
seem to have vanished, for the ranks are filled again 
with young men — men of the "American Legion" — 
who march proudly side by side with the veterans of '6i 
and '98. 

Our Medford Post, 66, has now fifty-two names on its 
roll; of these, thirty-two comrades took part in the exer- 
cises of the day. 

George L. Stokell, Commander. 

Albert W. Patch, Senior Vice-Commander. 

Charles O. Burbank, Junior Vice-Commander. 

George D. Kellam, Adjutant. 

Albert A. Samson, Quartermaster. 

Milton F. Roberts, Surgeon. 

Joseph A. Chapin, Chaplain. 

Albert G. Webb, Officer of the Day. 

56 MEMORIAL DAY. [July, 

Edward F. Smith, Officer of the Guard. 

Isaac H. Gardner, Quartermaster Sergeant. 

Oscar A. Allen, Patriotic Instructor. 

William H. Alden Winslow Joyce 

John F. Barrows Thomas B. Kelley 

John L. Brockway Fred. A. Kent 

James H. Burpee Joseph F. King 

Royal F. Carr Daniel W. Lawrence 

Arthur D. Chickering Charles W. Libby 

Nason B. Cunningham J. Everett Pierce 

William H. Dunbar Alvin R. Reed 

Charles W. Ellis George R. Russell 

Willard B. Emerv James W. Smith 
Edgar A. Hall 

The exercises of this year mark a transition period 
in the observance of Memorial Day. It is unlikely that 
the veterans will march on future occasions as before. 
They invited the young veterans now home from oversea, 
and who are forming the new American Legion, to par- 
ticipate with them in the duties of the day. So to the 
Legion comes the heritage of the Grand Army of the 
Republic, which will continue its organization and main- 
tain its principles to the last. These younger veterans 
will take up the patriotic duty, and year by year, though 
old comrades fail to appear, will be manifest the enduring 
principles of American citizenship and loyalty. Just 
what form the details of the annual observance under 
the newer organization will take, we may not say, but 
the Grand Army of the Republic has set a worthy ex- 

" On this memorial day of Peace fulfilled, 
When to the God of battles praise is said 
For warfare done and the long clamor stilled, 
Forget not then the dead." 


44 Yet will we' keep, who cannot else repay 
The dearest gift that Love has power to give, 
For them the first place in our thoughts today — 
Our dead, through whom we live." 

L. B. A. 

1919.] 57 


The future historian of Medford will find he has a 
task on his hands to enumerate the various social and 
fraternal organizations that have been or are existent at 
the time of his writing. Not so Mr. Brooks in 1855. 
His list included but three — Sons of Temperance, 
Masons, and the Medford Salt-marsh Corporation. To- 
day their name is Legioii, for they are "many." At the 
present time the spirit of organization is everywhere. 
The young people have caught it, and the wide-spread 
helpful influence of the Boy Scouts is everywhere felt. 

As a bit of current history we wish to mention another 
which has obtained place in Medford, that of the Camp 
Fire Girls. In a previous issue the Register has told 
of their visit to the Historical rooms and of their lighting 
of our initial (matchless) fire on the Society's hearthstone. 
On a recent occasion they were again both our guests 
and entertainers. One of their number, delegated to 
do so, told of their aim to live up to the law of the Camp 
Fire, which is to 

Seek beauty, Give service, Pursue knowledge, Be trustworthy, 
Hold on to health, Glorify work, and Be happy. 

Of the three degrees — 

" Wood Gatherer," "Fire Maker," and "Torch Bearer," 


It is only by effort, and by sincere and earnest work, that each de- 
gree is obtained. A Camp Fire Girl must earn a certain number 
of honors in order to obtain her degree, but it isn't the spirit of the 
Camp Fire Girls to see how many pretty bright-colored beads they 
can gain in order to have a long chain — theirs is the joy in earn- 
ing them. 

She explained their watchword, Wo-he-lo, as com- 
pounded from work, health, love, and the entire company 
recited with her the desires of each degree. One, espe- 
cially beautiful, we quote — 

As fuel is brought to the fire, so I purpose to bring my strength, 
my ambition, my heart's desire, my joy and my sorrow to the fire 


of humankind. For I will tend as my fathers have tended since 
time began, the fire that is called the love of man for man, the love 
of man for God. 

The usual number in a group or " fire " of these girls 
is ten, their leader is usually a young matron, and styled 
" Guardian." Two or more fires are styled a Council, 
and its name may be a composite of the names of each, 
in this case Sag-my-?iah. 

That it is educative in its influence goes without say- 
ing. Each meeting some girl contributes to the enter- 
tainment of the evening an original composition. The 
occasion referred to was the time of the " Council's " 
meeting, transferred from a " house of worship " to the 
Historical Society's home. The Register gladly pre- 
serves for the future the contribution of the girl of the 
evening, whose name is appended : — 

On a cold and star-lit evening, 

In the second moon of winter, 

Met the Camp Fire girls together 

Camp of Sagamore and Mystic, 

In a sacred house of worship 

In the good old town of Medford. 

Listen, while I tell the story 

Of that bright and happy evening, 

When we wore our Indian dresses 

And our many-colored headbands 

To that ceremonial meeting. 

Of our number there were present 

Nine and twenty bright-faced maidens. 

Entered, Sagamore and Mystic ; 

Made the fire sign together, 

Sign of flame and curling woodsmoke 

Curling slowly, slowly upwards 

To the great mysterious Spirit ; 

Then so softly all together 

Said the ode to the great Spirit, 

Sang we then the mystic fire song 

Sang it all with joyous voices. 

Afterwards, with hands uplifted 

Paid our tribute to the colors 

To the emblem of our freedom 

To the flag of our great nation. 

1919.] IN EARLIER DA VS. 59 

How the rafters rang with music ! 

Music of our national anthem 

And our Camp Fire cry, '• Wo-hc~lo" 

See! before the firelight standing 

Three tall candles all imlighted 

Waiting for Nioda's coming 

Waiting for the maid She-she-bens, 

Waiting for the maid Jaswedo. 

Each one knelt before her candle 

In her hand a lighted taper, 

Touched it to the candle, saying, 

44 Work and Health and Love are lighted 

With the magic word ' Wo-he-lo.' " 

Stood outside the camp a maiden 

To become one of our number, 

Stood before the guardian saying 

Earnest words of her desire 

To become a Camp Fire maiden. 

Then, replied the guardian to her 

After all her words were spoken, 

t; You are now one of our number 

Camps of Sagamore and Mystic." 

Then bestowed upon their members 

Tw r elve in number well-won honors 

So, unto each necklace adding, 

Precious beads of many colors, 

Six unto the Camp of Sagamore, 

Six unto the Camp of Mystic. 

Then, into the Wood-gatherers' circle 

There were gathered nine new members, 

Four from Mystic, 

Five from Sagamore. 

On each hand was placed a token 

Silver ring of seven fagots and the circles of " Wo-he-lo." 

Then our closing song together 

Sang we all the " Day is Over." 

And unto their homes departed 

All the loyal Camp Fire maidens. 

________ MABEL C. LOVVRY. 


At the present time public assemblage of people in 
Medford can on occasion be readily accommodated in 
its various church edifices and halls. How was it a hun- 

60 IN EARLIER DA VS. [July, 

dred years ago — or less? We are led to this query by 
the following quotation from an historical address of 
the Rev. James T. McCuilom, on the fiftieth anniversary 
of the formation of the second church fn Medford. 

On the first two Sabbaths, the meeting was held in the upper 
story of Mr. Francis' bake-house, the building now occupied by 
Mr. Lauriat as a manufactory. After this, a hall was fitted up in 
the Medford House, where religious services were held till the 
completion of the church building. 

The above is sent us by an interested contributor who 
writes : 

I never saw it anywhere else. 

It was received without question and is doubtless cor- 
rect. Had it not been, there were those then living and 
perhaps present to have challenged it. 

The occasion in question was one of a sort that was 
almost new to Medford; one that required the "courage 
of their convictions " of the participants. 

Medford was then (1823), one hundred and ninety-three 
years from its settlement, a town of about one thousand 
five hundred inhabitants. Its third meetinghouse had 
served the people for fifty-three years both for religious 
worship and secular assembly, and the forty-eight years 
*of the settled minister, Dr. Osgood, had just closed. 

Respect for him had kept the varying thought of the 
people well in check, and it is said he would tolerate no 
rival pulpit in his domain, regarding all such as inter- 
lopers. But this could not always be. 

The parting of the ways was near — indeed had been 
reached the previous year, as we will later notice. Under 
the system of church and parish then operating, any dis- 
senting views or doctrine must find other than the meet- 
ing house for promulgation. 

In 1823, places of public assemblage were few, and 
consisted mainly of such halls as the taverns afforded, 
notably that earlier of Hezekiah Blanchard, and then 
and later, the Medford House. 

1919.] IN EARLIER DA YS. 61 

To those who forsook the stately meeting-house up 
old High street, and turned into the lane (now Ashland 
street) and climbed the stairs to the second floor of Mr. 
Francis' bake-house that summer day, the contrast must 
have been great. Perhaps it was too great, as only two 
Sabbaths were spent there, and better quarters secured. 
Again this quotation tells us where. Mr. Cummings in 
his excellent paper only says — 

A hall in the neighborhood was fitted up. 

This bake-house room was later used in the gold-beating 
business and finally demolished in 1896. It was of brick, 
substantially built, and served its purpose well. 

But there was another old brick house, in recent years 
demolished, on Ship street, called " the College," where 
in 1822 some people not of the old Medford church 
assembled. More unsuited for such purpose than the 
bake-house was this dwelling, and in the evening their 
worship was transferred to " the hall in one of the hotels." 
In this case we are fortunate in knowing the name of 
the preacher, Rev. Josiah Brackett of Charlestown, and 
also the texts he preached from. Beside the river on 
Main street (where is now the four-story building of brick) 
stood a two-story wooden building. In this was the 
" Mead's Hall," to which the Methodists, who first met 
in the "College," transferred their services until the build- 
ing of their first house of worship on Cross street. It 
must have been a busy hive in the olden days. Here 
is the late Francis A. Wait's description of it. 

The house at the river was old and low studded ; set back from 
the sidewalk more than the others and required six steps up to the 
first floor, and steps from the street to the eating-room in the base- 
ment, kept by John and Peter Danforth. A Mrs. Hathaw lived in 
the rear; entrance from the street level. An old bachelor shoe- 
maker named Pat Conely * lived and worked in the south end; 
Wyman & Locke, butchers, in the north end. 

Mr. Wait illustrated his note by a sketch of this house, 
showing a fourth entrance, to the end away from the 

* See Register, Vol. IV., p. 72, for James Hervey's mention of Connoly. 


river, probably that by which the hall on the second 
floor was reached, and adds 

John D. Small started business in the large room. 

We would here observe that Mr. Small's successors are 
in a building longer used for church purposes. 

In 1 83 1 the Universalists began their services in 
" Kendall's Hotel,"! but by the time the Baptists needed 
accommodations Medford had its Town Hall, that later 
sheltered the Methodists while their second home was in 
construction, and likewise Galen James' second colony 
the Mystic Church, and also the Roman Catholic. The 
early services of Grace Church were held in the Odd 
Fellows Hall, though the pleasant fact is recorded that 
the initial service was in one of the Congregational 
churches loaned for the service, and, in accordance with 
the custom of the Episcopal communion on the Christmas 
festival, was fitly decorated with evergreen." $ 

We have thus covered the places of beginning -of the 
various orders of religious worship of old Medford, gath- 
ered from authentic sources. This is suggested by the 
quotation which our correspondent found in print no- 
where else. 


In the Usher History of Medford are some " Biograph- 
ical Sketches." closing with that of Captain Joshua T. 
Foster (p. 48 7}. Inasmuch as twenty-one years of the 
captain's career are unnoticed there some items from 
Shipbuilding on North River are worth recalling. 

Turner Foster, as he was commonly called in his boy- 
hood home, having acquired his trade in Medford and 
there attained his majority, returned to Scituate 

and built four vessels in partnership with Joseph Clapp under the 
firm name of CUdd Sc Foster. . . . [Having] reached his twenty- 
fifth year [he] returned to the Sprague & James yard as foreman. 

t Register, Vol. IV., p. 27. 
+ Register, VoL V., p. 96. 

1919.] SHIP YARD ECHOES. 63 

. . . Before [leaving] Scituate the first time he used to help his 
father in the store, and often carried the " black-strap " (rum 
sweetened with molasses) down to the yards, but during the seventy- 
eight years of his life [1SS9], has never used tobacco or tasted 
spirit, save as a medicine. He used to play the clarinet and with 
Uncle Sam Rogers, went to singing school in Pembroke. At that 
time Mr. Rogers was courting a Miss Standish, and Mr. Foster 
was obliged to wait for him to go to her home and do his courting, 
as Mr. Rogers had the team and it was a long walk . . . An epi- 
taph current with the [Scituate shipyard] reads as follows. 

"Under this greensward pat, 

Lies the hulk of old 

Shepherds rejoice and do not weep, 
For he is dead who stole your sheep." 

The deceased was noted for putting other men's sheep in his own 
flock and marking them with his private mark. 

We have no proof of the identity of the writer but the lines are 
not inconsistent with Mr. Foster's jovial disposition. 

From the same source we find what Mr. Usher failed 
to mention, that while serving Medford in 1884 Captain 
Foster was the oldest man in the Legislature — the " Dean 
of the House." 

From Ship-Yard to Pulpit. 

While viewing the ship now building beside the Mystic 
below Wellington bridge, we have recalled the distant 
views of those building in our boyhood days, as we saw 
them from the Lowell railroad, and have wished in vain 
that some one had written more fully of the vanished in- 
dustry of Medford. But here is an incident of eighty 
years ago, gathered from the same source as the preced- 
ing and from the pen of Rev. W. P. Tilden. 

When about twenty-three, I married a noble woman I had 
known and loved from childhood, and we moved to Medford, 
whose Ship street, now desolate, was alive with ship-building. It 
was not long after this when working with my dear ship-carpenter, 
classmate and orthodox friend, Rev. W. T. Briggs, we discussed, 
almost fiercely, the high themes of fore-knowledge, free-will and 
fate, and I hammered away on the hard side of Calvinism. One 
day when I was about twenty-five, while at work in the ship-yard 


at Medford I saw my portly pastor coming, looking through his 
glasses, first one side and then the other, as was his wont going up 
the broad aisle. I dropped my axe to welcome him, and soon 
found he had a gospel of hope for me. He h;id taken counsel, 
and came to tell me he thought I might — yes, I might — enter the 

That spot of ground is still sacred. I have been to it as to the 
Mecca of my first hope. All signs of the old ship-yard, to a stran- 
ger's eye, were gone; but I knew the old landmarks, and found 
the spot where 1 dropped the broad axe to hear the glad tidings 
that opened to me a new life. I was glad to stand there and feel 
something of that hour come back to me through the vista of half a 

The "portly pastor" was Rev. Caleb Stetson, the Uni- 
tarian minister of Medford, and the young workman 
probably attended his ministrations in the old third 
meeting-house. If old Ship street was alive then, it was 
more so ten years later, when another clergyman of Med- 
ford made his observations and compiled his wonderful 
list of Medford ships. No wonder that Mr. Tilden 
thought it "desolate" at his return as he contrasted it 
with the times when two hundred and fifty men were 
there employed. 


In Vol. XXII, p. 19, and twelfth line, is an error we 
wish to correct. Instead of Joh?i, read George Gill. We 
regret the necessity of thus writing, but hasten to do so 
in the interest of accuracy. 

The Register aims to be a reliable chronicle of mat- 
ters of Medford interest, one that can be safely quoted. 

It is with pleasure that we announce that the Society's 
files of the various papers published in Medford since 
1896 are now available for consultation at our rooms. 
Also, that by the courtesy of the Mercury its prior file 
from its first publication, though not wholly complete, 
may be found in our library. 


t ,;~—- - 




imagsf - 












Chemical Works and Superin- 
tendent's House, 
Tow-path and Canal Bed, 
Looking East, in 1890. 

■ m( i ... fW , 

Old Tow-path, Looking West 

toward Boston Avenue, 




m m 


V 1 

" ,: "ISMS! 



; '•'■■ f "%. ?«s -r^v sf r 1 ? 5v; "S^ 

.. ri- - ■■ ^ ;,: *,; ,; 

a . "ass • 

8 - - 5**."™ -■*• 

^.^.^.....■i*.'.^..,. .^--. 


cmt • . w\ 

.' Use "%^{fS 1® "t, fc- "i TL- V'W:-y ' ;_^ "J\^ 

'Corner High and Forest Streets.) Built about 1709 and razed 1867. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXII. DECEMBER, 1919. No. 4. 


WE are led to this retrospect by reading the names 
of Medford men who in 1S19 formed a ''long- 
name society." This was the " Medford Association for 
Discountenancing Intemperance and Its Kindred Vices." 
There were ninety-six of them, twenty-eight being 
marked as " officers," — and the list is a notable one, 
being headed by the Governor of the Commonwealth, 
John Brooks, and the minister of the town, David 
Osgood, d.d. This list is worthy cf preservation, and 
was furnished by the late Francis A. Wait, who says in 
a later communication : 

A few years ago I saw a pamphlet gotten up about 1835, and 
signed by men in Medford who were alarmed at the increase of 
drunkenness in the town. 

Certainly, Medford was wet (to borrow the modern 
term) a century ago, but probably not more so than 
other towns not engaged in the business of distillation. 
Now, that after a century of agitation and effort, not 
only Medford but the entire country by national legisla- 
tion and state ratification is dry, it is of interest to know 
something of the Medford of 18 19 and its conditions — 
physical, educational, social .and otherwise. The pub- 
lished histories give but little specific information, while 
the Tufts map required by the Legislature of 1784, prob- 
ably correct in scale, and, filling requirements, is a model 
of pathetic brevity. More elaborate, but incorrect in some 
ways is the Hales' map, made about 1820,* and showing 
the few roads and something of topography. By the 
former we find location of the meeting-house and mills, 

• *See Register, Vol. I, p. 133. 

6G MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO — 1S19. [December, 

but little information relative to housing or business. 
No newspaper here then, and the bi-weeklies of Boston 
had but rare allusion to Medford matters. 

One hundred and eighty-nine years had rolled away 
since the first settlement of the town, and vet Medford 
in 1 8 19, separated from the metropolis of New England 
by but one town, and but five miles distant, had less 
than 1,500 inhabitants. It had been hard hit by the 
Revolution, but in the first decade of the nineteenth 
century, with the establishment of ship-building, there 
was an increase of 316 in the population, but in the sec- 
ond decade but 34. If the increase of population was 
small in those latter years, the reverse was true of the 
new industry, for while 16 vessels were built in the first 
decade, 60 were built in the second, though there were 
but three in 18 19. In that year James Monroe was 
president of the United States and Gen. John Brooks 
of Medford governor of Massachusetts, having been 
elected for the fourth time, receiving 215 of his towns- 
men's votes, out of a total of 240 cast. 

The outline of Medford's territory was larger then 
than now; its social, educational and civic center was 
the meeting-house, its business center the " market- 
place " where the "country road" from Boston divided 
north to Woburn and east to Maiden and Salem, and 
were the principal public roads (not given names as yet), 
though two turnpike roads had been opened fourteen 
years before and a canal a few years earlier. 

Does anyone wish to know what the old town looked 
like in 1819? Let them look carefully at the few old- 
time dwellings still remaining, the ancient graveyard 
and distil-house, the pictures of the third meeting-house, 
brick schoolhouses and the old Tufts residence, substi- 
tute a country road for those of today, eliminate all 
motive power but horses and oxen, and light other than 
sunlight and candles, and turn to an authentic source of 
information — the old town record book. Squire Abner 
Bartlett had been for some time town clerk. His pen- 

1919.] MEDFORD A CENTUR Y AGO — 1819. 67 

manship was stiff and bristling, and unlike the proverbial 
character of lawyers' writing, is legible. The paper is 
rough and strong and the ink unfading. The book 
itself has been in recent years re-bound. The obliging 
city clerk will be at some inconvenience to produce it for 
your inspection and will jealously safeguard it, as in 
duty bound lie should. 

Medford'slown officers were three selectmen, three as- 
sessors, two constables, three fish committee, three over- 
seers of the poor, three highway surveyors, three ty thing- 
men, three auditors, three fence viewers, six fire-wards, 
eight surveyors of lumber, eight measurers of wood, 
and ten field-drivers, which with the town clerk, treas- 
urer and clerk of the market, totals sixty-one men to 
administer the affairs of a little town of about twenty 
square miles of territory and 1400 inhabitants. Prob- 
ably there was duplication enough to reduce the number 
to fifty. It may be noticed there was no school board 
especially named. 

The annual town meeting was held in March, hence 
usually styled the " March meeting," and adjourned from 
time to time as the amount of public business required. 
At that of 18 19, Hon. Timothy Bigelow, who had the 
experience and distinction of eleven terms as speaker of 
the Massachusetts House of Representatives, was mod- 
erator. Dr. Luther Stearns, Thatcher Magoun and 
Nathan Adams, three of Medford's prominent citizens, 
were chosen selectmen, Joseph Manning, treasurer, and 
Reuben Richards, clerk of the market. These names 
are evidence that it was a notable and efficient board, 
as also those that follow in the long list of other officers 
shown. It is recorded that ere adjournment to April 1, 
the town clerk was directed to "put the law in force 
against persons chosen who do not qualify." Then fol- 
low several pages of certificates of qualification. At 
the April meeting the town fixed the assessors' pay at 
$2.00 per day, and $1.50 to the constable for warning 
town meeting. The town clerk was allowed $30 for his 

68 MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO — 1819. [December, 

services for the year and the overseers of the poor the 
same amount. A man on the highway was paid $1.25 
per day. A man with a team consisting of a cart and a 
good yoke of oxen had $2.50 per day, and a day's work 
was to be ten hours. 

The town meeting was held in the town's third meet- 
ing-house (which was the last to be warmed only by the 
heat of debate or the parson's sermons), and entered in 
its record is the vote to allow Dr. Osgood, the minister, 
$200 to purchase his wood for the ensuing year. 

The eighth article of the warrant was about painting 
the meeting-house, and this was referred to a committee 
of six for consideration. Four days later the town met 
again, and then a committee reported something that 
sheds much educational light on the Medford of 18 19: 

The town contains 203 families or householders. . . . The 
law requires two masters. . . . There are 159 boys over seven years, 
and 15S girls . . . and 117 of both sexes over four and under 
seven that require to be taught in summer by women. 

There were two private schools or academies in town 
(those of Dr. Stearns and Miss Hannah Swan), but some 
of their students came from other towns. This record 
says " that two schools for those younger children must 
be established, one at Brooks' corner [High and Woburn 
streets] and the other on l Mill Lane, so-called ' [River- 
side avenue.]" 

The above figures are interesting as showing the 
average Medford family of a century ago as being of five 
children, and probably as many over seventeen as under 
four. But the needed schoolhouse at " Brooks' corner " 
remained a need for twenty years more. The meeting 
of 1819 required four gatherings. At the last (May 5) 
Jonathan Porter was chosen town clerk. His hand- 
writing is clear and graceful and inclined a little to em- 
bellishment. The committee reported that it was ex- 
pedient to paint the meeting-house, and the town referred 
the matter to them for execution. 

One more item of that record is especially interesting, 




i.e. f on annual budget, the town voted to raise for current 
expenses for 1S19, the sum of $4,500, basing its action 
on the expenditure of the preceding year of $4,408.77. 
Of this latter amount $1,284.86 (almost one-third of the 
entire amount) was expended " for the poor in and out 
of the poor-house." 

While it is still true that "the poor always ye have 
with you," and it was to Medford's credit that they have 
been cared for, yet the above proportion seems unnat- 
urally excessive, and in looking for the cause, thinking 
men were " alarmed " and formed that society with the 
long name a century ago. 

Thus far we have quoted from the town meeting rec- 
ords, now turn to those of the selectmen written by the 
clerk in another volume. At their first meeting in 1819, 
on January 22, we find: 

Voted, That the following names be posted up in the houses 
and shops of all Taverns, Innholders and Retailers within said town 
as a list of the names of persons reputed common drunkards, com- 
mon tipplers, spending their time and estate in such houses, to wit : 
[Here follow seven names which in courtesy we omit.] 

The selectmen were required thus to do. 

As the annual town meeting was in March, the fiscal 
year ended on February 15, but a century ago the re- 
ports were not printed for distribution. In our search 
for information we had overlooked the fact that Mr. 
Brooks in his history had presented the disbursements 
of 1818 as in contrast with those of 1855, the year of the 
history's publication. We reproduce the same for com- 
parison with that in the town record from which we have 
From Brooks' History, p. 119: Records of Town : 

For the minister 533-33 

Poor in and out of poor- 
house 1,227.8s 
House rent for the poor 24.00 
Sunday School mis- 
tresses for poor 3 2 -98 
Roads and highway bills 4SS.S7 

Minister's salary and 

grant of wood 
Paid Charlestown for 




5Q7- 6 3 


YTURV AGO — 16 79. [December, 

Abatement of Taxes 




Town Officers 


Abated taxes 


Collecting Taxes 


Town clerk 30.00 

Expenses opposing new 


Assessors 214.00 
Collector's fee 


Interest on town debt 


Expenses new road to 

For injury of horse on 





Interest on town debt 


Sexton 25.00 Miscellane 

Great bridge 


ous expenses 94-56 


Miscellaneous Expenses 
Allowed S. Butters 
Cleaning and repair town 




Hose of engine and town 

Trees in burying grounc 


Land damage to widen 



Grant made the singers 


4,353.12 4-418.77 

According to Mr. Brooks, the item of support of poor 
is even arger than that we quote from the town record. 
But there was still another outlay of which no mention 
is made. The town had, forty years before from Thomas 
Seccomb, a gift, the interest of which in perpetuity is 
applied to the relief of the poor. The selectmen's rec- 
ords of 1819 show the sum of $42.00, in sums of one 
and two dollars, distributed among twenty-three persons, 
and also a contribution of $96.00 more, in sums of three 
to five dollars for the same purpose. 

James T. Floyd was the sexton, and the selectmen 
allowed his bill for setting glass and painting bell frame, 
in all $29.00; but we fancy the sexton's bill was larger 
the following year, for in the winter of 1819-20 came an 
innovation in the old meeting-house. On October 29 
the selectmen approved Moses Merrill's bill for cast-iron 
stoves and funnel, $20.00. Just think of it, all you who 
have furnace repairs to make just a century later — a 
heating plant for $20.00 1 But how about $200 for Par- 
son Osgood's supply of wood for the same year, de- 
ducted from the $500 salary ? Even with the high price 

1919.] MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO —1819. 71 

of coal in 1919, the average householder today would 
deem it a hardship to pay $200 for a year's fuel, to say 
nothing of spending two-fifths of his income for warmth. 

Seth Mayo was one of the tavern-keepers and the 
town paid him $3.00 for the use of a room for the select- 

Jonathan Brooks was paid $2.00 for perambulating 
the town line beside Stoneham. It was a woodland 
walk, and is today, but it costs more. 

Luther Stearns and Jonathan Brooks had the disposal 
of fishing rights in the river for shad and alewives be- 
tween Medford and Charlestown. (This was from sec- 
ond beach to Wear bridge.) 

James Ford surveyed eleven tons and fourteen feet of 
pine timber at ninepence per ton, and $1.40 paid his fee. 
Probably this was for the "great bridge." 

Timothy Bigelow seems to have been the town's 
banker, as the selectmen directed the payment of $ 
interest on $1,650, loaned by him to the town. 

As the educational matters were administered by the 
selectmen we find : 

To Eliza Wait teacher 26 wks 4.00 including board 104. co 

Wm. Bradbury boarding Miss Eliza Gray schoolmistress 

May 3 to Oct. 3. 26 wks 52.00 

Eliza Gray teaching at the schoolhonse 26 wks 52.00 

Rhoda Turner, use and improvement of room for a 

schoolroom 6 mos. 25.00 

To Jeduthun Richardson the 3 following accts. 

For the services of his daughters Sally & Harriet 
keeping school May 1 to Oct. 30 25 wks 3£d. a 2.00 
per wk 51*40 

use of room for school 20.00 

for boarding teachers 25 wks 5^d. S l ^l 


By the above it appears that the town paid the teach- 
ers' board for the Sundays before and after the summer 
term, and it was all in the family at " Brooks' corner,"— 
and the old house, having taken a new lease of life, is 
still in evidence. 

72 MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO — IS/9. [December, 

Rhoda Turner's was probably at " Mill lane, so called,'' 
and all of the above tallies with the action of the town. 
Here is a breeze from the shipyards: 

Voted to allow Abner Bartlett's account for money paid for 
chips and wood for school. 

Great stuff for kindling and stove wood were the chips 
and blocks from the shipyards, better than the " bag- 
wood " of today. 

In the days when the sea was old 
And the builders lithe and young, 
From timber that gleamed like gold 
This carpet of chips was flung. 

Feb i, Voted, to allow Rebecca Blanchard's account for school- 
ing a child of Rufus P [ ] 24 weeks to Oct 31 last year $3.00 

She w r as one of the " schoolmistresses for poor chil- 
dren." At the same meeting " 13 in all" men w r ere ap- 
proved as " enginemen," and it was 

Voted to allow Daniel Symms five dollars in full of his account 
for 46 ladder dogs. . . . 

Daniel Wait $25.17 for ladders and painting cases. 

This was in the days of the " Grasshopper," and the fire 
department wasn't motorized. 

And who shall say that Medford did not encourage 
the fine arts? We think it did, for on February 1 1 : 

Voted to draw on the treasury for one hundred dollars payable 
to Nathan Adams Jr. Treasurer of Medford Harmonic Social Sing- 
ing Society, agreeable to vote of the town in [blank] last, and re- 
quest of said Society. 

But who shall say the money was ill spent, even though 
Squire Bartlett forgot to fill in the blank space with the 
date of the town's action ? This other long-name society 
was probably the choir that sang in the old meeting- 
house. No pipe-organ in Medford then. We quote Mr. 
Brooks, p. 492, under date of 1810: 

Medford had a large choir of volunteer singers under the faith- 
ful Ephraim Bailey. On Sunday, once, the pitch-pipe set the 
pitch so high that the whole choir broke down. Still Bailey tried 
on the second verse and again broke down. General Brooks 

1919.] MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO — 1819. 73 

could not endure it any longer; and he rose in his pew, beckoned 
to Bailey, and said, "Hadn't you better take another pitch?" 
Bailey replied " No sir; I guess we can get through it." 

This Ephraim Bailey must have been possessed of a 
strong voice, as he was qualified and " approved to sell 
goods at public vendue and outcry," i.e., an auctioneer. 
He was constable and warned town-meeting, w r as also 
collector of taxes — not elected or appointed, but pur- 
chasing the position by bidding the lowest percentage. 

Samuel Wiatt was in 1819 on "Apr 1 recommended 
as a suitable person to keep tavern in the house lately 
occupied by Seth Mayo," and on "Apr 3 Isaac Blanch- 
ard in house lately occupied by his father [Hezekiah Jr] 

Medford had in 1821 (See Register, Vol. XIX, p. 8c) 
152-^ houses (probably in 18 19 less than 150) and four 
distilleries. How many of these houses remain today 
we cannot say with certainty, though we are sure of 
twenty westward from Medford square. Two of the dis- 
tilleries remain intact but devoted to other uses. All 
four, with by far the larger proportion of the dwellings, 
were east and south of the old market-place. Within 
our own recollection there has been an occasional de- 
molition, though mainly there has by careful repair been 
a survival of the fittest. 

We have presented an abstract covering features of 
the town administration of 1819. We may read between 
the lines and contrast the Medford of that day and its 
conditions with those of 19 19. One thing will stand 
out noticeably, the disproportionate burden that Med- 
ford was bearing then in the support of its poor — and 
we may well ask the cause. That ill conditions existed, 
and that they were evident to the thinking men of that 
day is seen in the formation of this society with a long 
name. It is by no means likely that many of those 
ninety-six were total abstainers, perhaps none, but they 
took a step in the right direction. Many were sensible 
of the gravity of the situation after fifteen years had 


74 MEDFORD A CENTURY AGO — 1819. [December, 

elapsed. One feature of that later period was a stock 
company to conduct a hotel on temperance principles, 
but which was not a financial success. But even such a 
venture was not proposed in 1819. 

Just how successful this " Association" was in dis- 
countenancing intemperance we may not say, but one 
thing is certain, that the continued efforts of the Wash- 
ingtonian and succeeding organizations, the agitations of 
pulpit and platform, the pledging of youth to total absti- 
nence, the widespread efforts of the Women's Christian 
Temperance Union, and public instruction helped create 
public sentiment which resulted in national prohibition. 

In 1 8 19 Medford began to rouse from its slumber and 
standstill. It then had but four public buildings: the 
meeting-house, schoolhouse, poor-house and powder- 
house, the latter two being the best and nearly new. 
The last still remains, though but little known. It now 
owns no meefi?ig-house, as church and state are sepa- 
rated, but it needs one, seriously, for civic use. It is of 
interest that in 18 19 Patrick Roach asked for the use 
of the schoolhouse for religious worship but was unsuc- 
cessful. Did this presage the parting of the ways which 
came four years later? We have never heard mention 
of this, but it is on the record. 

With that parting began a new era in the religious, 
educational and social status of Medford. The new 
road to Woburn the town had opposed was built and 
others followed. A town hall became a necessity, and 
new schoolhouses, but the new houses of worship were 
not as before a municipal expense, being built by the re- 
spective church societies worshiping therein. 

In the thirty-five years following 1819 to the writing 
of the history of Medford in '55, population had increased 
200 per cent, and annual outlay seven-fold, and a town 
debt in larger proportions. But the item of the relief of 
the poor had fallen to about one-seventh, and who can 
say but that the service and relief was as efficient? 

There is much of interest in the study of the old sta- 



tistics. It is not our intention here to compare them 
with those of 1919, but it is pertinent to inquire whither 
we are tending. 

For discountenancing Intemperance and its kindred Vices 

John Brooks 
David Osgood 
Ebenezer Hall* 
Watts Turner 
John Symnes* 
John Bishop 
Nathaniel Hall- 
Jonathan Brooks* 
Luther Stearns* 
Nathan Wait* 
James Darby 
William Ward* 
Benjamin Tufts* 
Richard Hall 
Levi Cutler 
William Rodgers* 
Samuel Kidder 
Nehemiah Wait 
Charles L. Hall 
Joseph Wyman Jr* 
Thomas Floyd 
Amhurst Joselyn 
Joseph Gardner 
James W. Brooks 
Thatcher Magoun* 
Ebenezer Hall Jr* 
George Fuller* 
Darius Wait* 
James T Floyd 
Elias Tufts 
Timothy Brigden 
Timothy Rich 
Benjamin Floyd 

Caleb Brooks 
Patrick Roach 
George Cook 
John Symmes Jim 
Martin Burrage 
Gershom Cutter* 
Ephriam Hall 
Gilbert Brooks 
Galen James* 
Thomas Calif 
Benjamin Pratt Jun 
Nathan Bryant ' 
Benjamin Noyes 
James T Floyd Jr 
Seth Bran ford 
Phillips Rogers 
Stephen Sprague 
Andrew Perkins 
Charles Johnson 
Jonas Manning 
Arron Blanchard 
Isaac Sprague* 
John Blanchard 
Francis Kidder 
Andrew Blanchard* 
Nathaniel Bishop 
John P Clisby* 
D Swan 
Anthony Hatch 
Benjamin Floyd Jun 
Love man Buel 
Abijah Kendall 
Gilbert Blanchard 2d 

Thomas Cox Jun 
Asa Sprague 
A Bartlett* 
John Howe* 
Jeduthun Richard- 
Jonathan Porter* 
Joseph Lamson 
Cornelius Tufts 
Henry Withington 
Nathan Adams* 
Joseph Manning 
J Swan* 
Daniel Symmes 
Benjamin Hill 
Stilman Clark 
Moses Merrill 
Henry Reed 
Noah Johnson* 
Seth Mayo 
Nathaniel Jaquith 
Timothy Bigelow 
D Hall* 

Andrew Bigelow 
Jonathan Harrington 
Edward Bradbury 
David Buckman 2nd 
Marshall Symmes 
Nathan Adams Jun* 
Isaac Floyd 
John T White 
Theophilus Boyd 
Jonathan Warner 

this mark are officers for the present year 

76 [December, 


Among the interesting reminders of busy times in 
Medford is the rigged model of the clipper ship Syren 
(the 449th in the list and the first of those built in the 
year 185 1, and in the yard of Sprague and James) which 
may be seen at the Historical Building. 

Within two years there has come to the Society a 
photograph of the Syren lying at a wharf ; also from Mr. 
Shepherd Brooks a photograph of the Ellen Brooks, 4S0 
tons, built by George Fuller for R. D. Shepherd in 1834, 
the 197th in the list of Medford-built ships. These are 
especially interesting. The Syren is given as 1,050 tons 
in the list in Brooks' history. 

In 185 1 Frederic Gleason of Boston began the weekly 
publication of Gleason's Pictorial, probably the first of 
its kind. Its illustrations were wood cuts, as it was long 
before the modern half-tone process. An examination 
of its pages is well worth making, and therein we find 
one of the Syren and reproduce here the text. Vol 1, 
p. 149, (July 5, 1851): 

Our artist has sketched for us here a fine maritime scene, repre- 
senting the clipper ship Syren as she passes Boston (lower) Light. 
The Syren is owned by Silsbee, Pitman & Silsbee, of Salem, is 
commanded by Capt. George Silsbee, and intended for the Ca i- 
fornia and East India trade. Her dimensions are as follows : length 
180 feet, beam 36 ft depth of hold 22 feet; and altogether her 
model is of the most perfect and beautiful character in outline, and 
she can hardly escape being one of the finest bottoms afloat. The 
Syren was built by Mr. Taylor, at Medford, in the most thorough 
and substantial manner, and possesses all the modern marine im- 
provements. Our artist has sketched her with everything set that 
can draw, and right merrily she is bowling over the waters of the 
outer channel, a perfect picture of nautical neatness and beauty. 

As a matter of current history we note that at the 
present time there is being built on the bank of the 
Mystic in Somerville (next Wellington bridge) a vessel 
of about the same size as the Syren, perhaps a little 
larger. Medford men are interested in her construction, 


and the spot is somewhere near where Governor Win- 
throp built the Blessing of the Bay. She is to be 
schooner rigged, with four masts, and is now approach- 
ing completion. We hope to see her launching, the first 
on the Mystic since 1873. 

By permission the Register presents a romantic story 
recently published by the Danvers Historical Society, 
first quoting from Cutter's History of Arlington, p. 72 

From a list of funerals in Medford is the following: "1775 Apr 
21, Mr Henry Putnam slain at Menotomy by the enemy on their 
retreat from Concord on the 19th inst. He was about 70 years." 

Miss Wild in " Medford in the Revolution," styles him 
" a veteran of Louisburg, . . . though because of age 
exempt," and quotes, " he showed his Putnam spunk 
and went with the rest." 

Henry Putnam's Ride. 

When Mr. Henry Putnam was about twenty-two years of age he 
went from Medford, Mass., into the state of Connecticut, about 
one hundred miles, at that day a very long journey. Night com- 
ing on, he stopped at a farm house of inviting appearance, in the 
town of Bolton, and asked for entertainment for himself and horse, 
as he travelled on horseback. This request was cordially received, 
and the hospitalities of the house were freely given him. 

In the family circle was Miss Hannah Boardman, the oldest 
daughter of his host. Mr. Putnam became interested at once in the 
young lady, of whom he dreamed much during the night. In the 
morning he told the story of his love, and in return Miss Hannah 
gave her consent to become his wife. Acting on the principle 
that "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," and the fact 
that a long ride was between him and his home, he decided to live 
only in the company of his lady-love. So he arranged to make her 
father's house his home until the slow laws of Connecticut would 
allow the twain to become one; but in due time they were married. 

The next morning after the wedding, Mrs. Putnam was pre- 
sented by her father and friends with a horse, a lady's saddle and 
other travelling equipment; also two cows and twelve sheep. 

Now came the tug of love — separation from home and all its 
endearments — fond caresses and hearty farewells were exchanged, 

78 THEN AND NOW. (December, 

and the youthful bride of sixteen, with the husband, each mounted 
on the saddle, took up the march for her new home in the old Bay 
State, driving the cows and sheep before them. 

The above was (as we understand) reprinted in 1877 
from information given by the lady herself when about 
ninety years of age. " Henry Putnam was the youngest 
son of Deacon Eleazer Putnam [of Danvers] and sold 
what was his father's homestead about 1745 to Phinehas 
Putnam, the great grandfather of the present occupant." 

A query arises — was the " new home in the old Bay 
State " to which the bridal party came with cows and 
sheep in Medford or Danvers? The Louisburg expedi- 
tion was in the spring of 1745. Was the veteran of 
Louisburg from Danvers or Medford ? 

We are inclined to answer to both queries, Danvers: 

as he owned property there and was one of the tellers at Danvers 
March meeting in 1752. He was taxed in Charlestown 1756-65, 
and taught school "without the neck," where he was styled "gentle- 
man" and ;1 from Danvers." He was in 1763 administrator of the 
estate of his son John, *• late of Charlestown," and was then called 
" gentleman" and " of Charlestown." 

It has been suggested that he joined in Medford, the 

Danvers minute men who marched from Danvers to Cambridge 
{i.e. Menotomy or West Cambridge) 16 miles in 4 hours, taking 
stand in a walled enclosure with a breastwork of shingles, waiting 
the retreating British. 

Genl. Israel Putnam was in the same generation, their fathers 
being cousins. 

This latter gathered from Putnam Ancestry (1919). 

Seventeen years ago coal was selling for nineteen 
dollars per ton in Medford — the winter of the "coal 
famine" — until by the action of President Roosevelt there 
was a temporary get-together of conflicting parties, coal- 
barons and mine workers. At that time, two Medford 
writers gave expression to their thoughts. The first (to 
us unknown) as follows: 

1919.] THEN AND NOW. 79 

Some days I built a fire of coke and in the kitchen sat : 
It rose to twenty cents a bag and mighty scarce at that; 
Then wood I gleaned from everywhere, I borrowed, bought and 

stole — 
A rummage sale's not in it with a winter without coal. 
The furniture, the fence, the trees, and all that I most prize 
I burned, and as a last resort, I took to exercise. 

Oh, Morgan, and oh, Mitchell, we prayed you, " still the storm, 
Allow our honest people their hearts and hearths to warm." 
A fairer and a stronger man than you our danger recognized, 
And when he spoke you listened and your power exercised. 
And now the burden of our song shall ever gladly be, 
''The land of Teddy Roosevelt is good enough for me." 

Doubtless there are many housewives in Medford 
today that can join with the other "mistress of the manse" 
in the following : 

Poor Father Noah in pensive mood 

Is gazing o'er the sea, 
For weighty problems fill his brain 

Of nations yet to be. 
His little ark is high and dry 

Upon Mount Ararat. 
And would that we from turmoil free 

Beside old Noah sat, 
No thoughts to turn 
On coal to burn. 

Does it not seem now as though little progress had 
been made in seventeen years, that it is still possible for 
like conditions to exist? Thoughtful people, from Med- 
ford, Mass., to Medford, Oregon, will do well to look 
into this matter, find and apply a remedy, and make the 
land of Lincoln and Roosevelt good enough — and 

80 [December, 


Mention was made of this in our issue of July, 191 6, 
under title of " A Forward Movement," and in others 
note made of progress. It is thought best to give in 
this, the following statement, thus of permanent record: 

January, 19 15, found our society (even after extra 
effort made), with a deficit of about $116 in current and 
publication expenses. Our old home was still in serious 
need of repair, though much had recently been expended. 
As no other plan seemed feasible, the society had by vote 
decided to sell the same. The new administration 
found itself confronted with new and serious conditions 
immediately after the closing meeting of the season by 
its sale and our consequent removal. It had occupied the 
Lydia Maria Child house almost from its start, first as ten- 
ant, and later becoming proprietor, having paid therefor 
$ 1 ,000, and mortgaging for $3,000 at a low rate of interest. 
This mortgage the purchaser assumed and later paid, the 
society receiving $1,500 for its equity in the property. 

As the above thousand dollars was donated to the 
society for that specific purpose, an equal amount was de- 
posited on interest for a similar use, leaving $500, from 
which resultant expenses of sale and new expenses of 
administration had to be met. As the new item of rent 
was itself in excess of the society's income, it was evi- 
dent that matters could not long thus continue. Vari- 
ous plans of relief were proposed, none of which on 
examination proved advisable, until in June, 19 16, the 
directors recommended the society to acquire a perma- 
nent home by the purchase of land and erection of a 
building. This was adopted by the society by vote, 
and the matter referred to the directors for execution, 
with but one restriction, viz., that no work be begun 
until $1,000 had been pledged. This was strictly observed; 
but in the meantime circumstances had arisen that re- 
quired a change of location and of plan. This entailed 
added expense and loss of several weeks of time most 
favorable for construction work. 


The directors assumed responsibility and the society 
by vote approved their action. The building committee 
of five was soon reduced to three by the serious and con- 
tinued illness of two of its number. It had already 
chosen one of its number (who had prepared the plans) 
superintendent of construction, who erected the building 
at absolute cost for the society, though in the stress of 
increasing difficulty, it is not yet wholly complete. It 
was deemed advisable to move into it at the earliest pos- 
sible time, and in January this was done. Like some 
other tenants who find it "cheaper to move than pay 
rent," we had then a three months' unpaid bill which our 
landlord kindly waited for until we were enabled by our 
new year's dues to pay the same. At this time most of 
the pledges made to the building fund had been paid in 
and expended upon the work, and with the little in sight, 
for a time little was done other than by the superin- 
tendent. In the price of materials (when purchased) 
he found at first a little advance over estimates given a 
few weeks before, but nothing like that which has come 
later. As time elapsed, the turmoil of war in Europe in- 
volved America, and the raising of funds for our needs 
could make no headway amid the drives for Liberty 
Loans, Red Cross, Y. M. C. A., and our local charities. 
Our incurred bills were made no larger. Some were re- 
duced a little, as occasional contributions were made, 
while our patient creditors waited our action. 

In December, 191 8, an effort was made to secure 
$2,000 to complete the building and pay all outstanding 
bills. About one-half of the amount was pledged and 
partially paid in by April 1, 1919, when matters became 
complicated by a possible suit at law by one of the 
smaller creditors. Up to that (and present) time the 
entire cost (to the society) of the building and land is 
$4>975*> and the entire remaining indebtedness to ten 
creditors, $1,682.12. To nine of these was owing the 
aggregate sum of $604.51, in sums of from $10 to 
$158; all balances of accou?its. As part of the money 

* Approximately. 


had been received without conditions, it was the wish of 
the other creditor (whose account was not a bala?ue but 
his entire bill) that the minor bills be paid, and the effort 
to raise the other thousand continued. At this juncture 
came an insistent demand for immediate settlement of one 
creditor's claim. Upon this, one of the directors imme- 
diately volunteered to take the matter of settlement in 
hand. His action resulted in a contribution to the fund 
by each creditor, of a sum equalling 45% of his claim, 
whereupon every claim was settled in full, as shown by 
the treasurer's vouchers. 

By the foregoing it will be seen that the new home of 
the society on Governors avenue stands today with no 
encumbrance of debt, through the kind forbearance of 
creditors for two years and their generous assistance at 
last. This was preceded by the conservation of earlier 
gifts, and the generous aid of comparatively few, and 
those mainly of our membership. We could wish the 
final result otherzvise attained, as we began the enter- 
prise in good faith, and with perhaps an over-confidence 
in the public spirit of Medford. Our final pledges were 
expected to pay all bills. Had the society been sub- 
jected to a suit at law by one creditor, all others must 
have suffered. As a matter of fact, all readily acceded 
to that director's suggestion, and to them our thanks are 
due, and to all others who have aided in our work for 
the interests of Medford. It has been done without 
the instrumentality of a so-called " construction " which 
means ak-struction loan. Every penny of every contri- 
bution thereto is accounted for, and obtained value. 
To those skeptical ones who "must be shown," those 
who perhaps really think we " had no need " of a home, 
and that " it was all the creation of one mind " — to such 
especially it should be evident that under the conditions 
that came and now are, the following statement is perti- 
nent. Had the enterprise not been launched when it 
was, the society would today truly be, as one said of it 
at the sale of the old home, — homeless and friendless. 

1919.] 83 


With the present issue the Register closes its twenty- 
second volume. It bears date of December, but owing 
to adverse conditions, will not reach its readers till the 
new year has dawned. Published by the Historical So- 
ciety as a part of its work, it has in twenty-two years 
preserved for reference and public information nearly 
all the papers prepared for and read at the meetings. In 
recent years there have been fewer of local interest thus 
presented, but the Register has gathered otherwise 
much that will be valuable to the future historian of 
Medford. Prior to 1855, the time of Mr. Brooks' writ- 
ing, there had been comparatively few town histories 
written. It was then a source of regret that the work 
was not earlier begun. 

These twenty-two volumes contain 2,344 pages, exclu- 
sive of title pages, index and illustrations. Their publica- 
tion has been a labor of love on the part of writers and 
editors, and an expense to the society which has but a 
limited income, and which is itself none too well appreci- 
ated by the city at large. Several times the question of 
discontinuance has been raised ; yet the Register has 
continued to appear, though sometimes belated. On one 
occasion an annual deficit was prevented by the timely 
gift of one hundred dollars, by a grandson of a former 
Medford clergyman. 

The town in 1855 from its treasury assisted Mr. 
Brooks in his publication, and in 1886, Mr. Usher more 
largely in his. For his careful work in 1905, Mr. Hooper 
received no remuneration whatever, nor has the Histori- 
cal Society ever (contrary to current impression) received 
any financial aid in its work from the city of Medford, 
in either its publication or its building enterprise. 

The present editor has served nearly eleven years, 
and must of necessity be relieved ere long. For several 
years he has performed the duties of publication com- 
mittee, starting with a deficit of over one hundred dol- 
lars, but trusting to close the present year with a prac- 


84 THE SOCIETY'S MEETINGS. [December, 1919. 

tically clean balance sheet. There has been much said 
of "civic pride " and " public spirit," which are desirable 
in many ways, but in the Register's experience its best 
appreciation comes from abroad rather than from the 
community it has tried to serve. 

The Society is reluctant to cease its issue, but it must 
have a better support. 


SEASON OF 1918-1919. 

October 2, 1918, at the opening meeting of the season, some twenty-five 
persons were present to hear Representative Fred Burrell, who spoke 
upon the Constitutional Convention and the Amendments. 

November 21 was the largest attended gathering, when Mrs. A. T. Hatch, 
of West Med ford, told of her work and experience overseas in France. 

December loth meeting was styled a Council Fire, and was a retrospect by 
members of the incidents and doings of the Society during the past 
two years, and some plans were formulated to be worked out. Light 
refreshments were served. 

January 21, 1919. The annual meeting was given to the reports and elec- 
tion of officers. The former board was reelected, with this exception: 
the curator and librarian, Miss Lincoln, was transferred to the vice- 
presidency, and Vice-President Remele was chosen to take charge of 
our library and collection. 

February 17. Rev. G. Bennett Van Buskirk of Trinity Church gave a 
timely and interesting talk on "Three Eminent Americans — Wash- 
ington, Lincoln and Roosevelt." Light refreshments were served by 
the Hospitality Committee. 

March 17 proved a cold and disagreeable day, affecting the attendance in 
some measure. The President read a paper of local interest, "The 
Story of an Ancient Cow Pasture," which was supplemented by remi- 
niscences by members. 

April 23. Sag-my-nah Council, Camp Fire Girls, of West Medford, trans- 
ferred their meeting to our assembly hall, an enjoyable occasion, and 
fully noted in the Register. 

May 19. President Charles Edward Mann, of Maiden Historical Society, 
presented an interesting story of "A Scrap of Paper," in which a 
number of Medford and Maiden men — long dead and gone — figured 
not a little. 



"At Cap-Codd A FOREWORD 

In ye name of God, Amen. . . . "Medford will fittingly observe 

For ye glorie of God and advance- that 300th birthday, 

mente of ye Christian faith, and By earnest, faithful work ... in 

honour of our King and countrie . . . the name of Him who dignified 

we combine our selves togeather into labor, do your best, ... to make 

a civill body politick" . . . your citizenship true and noble." 


■ . ;its go on interest t ■ - : 

.-':■ I f lid as at . 

. -Medf oriT -:rra-si compan 

. '■ i 3 Sat • ■ . l.AI to : 

C . 

n-., W 

rN.'COWIN & CO. I overland 

. .■..-■ 


■Willys- Knight 

RsiDE-AVE.. , . g ; -Teel & : : Co, 




Medford Historical 

Vol, XXIII, 1020 


Medford, Mass. 




No. 1. 

(Turnpike Number.) 

Toll-house on Andover Turnpike 
House of Gershom Cutter 




Medford Turnpike Corporation. John H. Hooper 

More About the Turnpike. Editor 

Turnpikes Past and Present 

The Mills on the Medford Turnpike 

The Andover Turnpike 

Correction ...... 




2 3 

No. 2. 

(Editorial Number 

Medford Town Pump, 181 2-1848 . 

Medford Branch Canal 

Medford Salt-marsh Corporation 

Parson Smith's Farm . 

Dr. Osgood's House . . . 

A Rill from the Town Pump 

Medford Myth of Menotomy 

4 1 

No. 3. 

Remains of Grist-mill ) ~ , . ~ . 

An Old View of Medford J ••■...-• Frontispiece 

Sewage in Mystic River. John H. Hooper . . 45 

Medford's First Grist-mill. Editor .... 53 

Local Changes in Medford . . . . . 58 

After Fifty-seven Years . . ... . 60 

An Old Historian's View .... .62 


No. 4. 


Broughton Mill-site, as Seen from Medford x 
Broughton Mill-site, Medford in Background 

The Dunster House, Demolished 1907 

kt xr o r> t \Frontispiece 

New Menotomy Kiver and Bridge, Looking; 


Temporary Dam, 190S, Mill-site at Left 

Medford, Condita, 1628 . . ~ . . . . 6c 

Launching of the Tremont . . . . . 6q 

More About the Grist-mill. John H. Hooper . . 71 

Editorial Comment ....... 75 

The Touro House and Its Owner . . ."**•".-. 7S 

The Society's Work . 83 

Another Retrospect . . . J . . §4 



wjfi ■ 

;:^v.>".:-:- °^l ; J - •-■: 


(The house on Medford Turnpike was probably a counterpart of this.] 

a* $ 

>^^'?^;^^r-^-^'; '^. -.,..-,.::^* f -' 

r - 


.1 ij s 


^:~^^<>-~ -;r~-~>-^ 


HOUSE OF GERSHOM CUTTER, Proprietor of Mill on Turnpike. 




filSTf v 

] ■ | m 

: ff 

gfra s _jgz^« 

?i g ! m I 

, _-, ■ -— . I 

XJfl, 1920 

•;... •> 







CORRECTION . .".,.•; . . . . 


Front: '•■/ it ■ -.• 

H, Ho 

oper . \ 





. . 23 


Entered as second-class matter, cinder the act of July 16, 1894, 
Medford Station, Boston, Massachusetts. 


Published quarterly (January-. Aprii ; July, and October) 


Medford Historical Society, 


No, 10 Governors Avenue, Medford, Mass. 
Subscription price, SI. 50 a year, postpaid. Single copies, 40 cents. 

For sate at the Society Rooms and by the Treasurer. 

Publication Committee. 




Editor, MOSES W. MANN, 
Exchange list in charge of Geo. S. T. Fuller, 7 Alfred Street 

Advertising Manager, Miss E% R. ORNE. 

I give and bequeath to the Medford Historical Society, in 

the city of Medford. Mass., the sum of Dollars for 

the genera] use and purposes of said Society. 

(Signed) ; 

j c. v.-.-;-, _ j raa, mscfosu, 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIII. MARCH, 1920. No. 1 


ON March 2, 1803, the General Court of the Com- 
monwealth of Massachusetts, upon the petition of 
Benjamin Hall, John Brooks, Fitch Hall, Ebenezer 
Hall, 2d, and Samuel Buel, granted to these petitioners, 
and all other persons as are or shall be associated with 
them and their successors, the right to lay out and make 
a turnpike road from the easterly side of the road nearly 
opposite to Dr. Luther Stearns' house, and running 
easterly of Winter hill and Plowed hill* to the east side of 
the road opposite Page's tavern near the neck in Charles- 
town. Dr. Luther Stearns' house stood in part on the 
location of Emerson street in Medford, and Page's tavern 
stood in or near Sullivan square, in the Charlestown dis- 
trict of Boston. The act of incorporation provided, that 
if the said corporation shall neglect to complete the said 
turnpike road for the space of three years from the pas- 
sage of this act, the same shall be void. It was also pro- 
vided, that if the said road should be laid out across any 
grounds, the privileges of which have been heretofore 
granted by law to the proprietors of the Middlesex canal 
for the purpose of cutting a canal, the proprietors of the 
turnpike road shall be obliged to make any extra bridge 
or bridges across said canal, or extra sluices that shall 
be rendered necessary by the formation of the said turn- 
pike road, and to keep the same in repair. It was further 
provided, that the corporation might make and establish 
rules and regulations as might be necessary to regulate 
the affairs of the corporation, and for a breach thereof 
might order and enjoin fines not exceeding $ 1 3.33. Also, 
that said turnpike road shall be laid out not less than 
three rods in width on the upland, six rods in width on 

*Mt. Benedict or Convent hill. 



the marsh, and the part to be traveled be not less than 
twenty-four feet in width in any place, and when the said 
road shall be sufficiently made and approved by a com- 
mittee of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace for 
the County of Middlesex to be appointed for that pur- 
pose, then the said turnpike corporation shall be and 
hereby is authorized to erect a turnpike gate or gates in 
some convenient place or places on said turnpike road, 
for collecting such toll as shall be determined by the said 
corporation and approved by the aforesaid committee. 
The act provided that the corporation shall be entitled 
to receive from each traveler or passenger the following 
rate of toll, to wit: For every coach, chariot, phaeton or 
other four-wheeled carriage for the conveyance of per- 
sons, drawn by not more than two horses, ten cents, and 
if drawn by more than two horses an additional sum of 
two cents for each horse; for every cart, wagon, sleigh 
or sled or other carriage of burden, drawn by not more 
than three cattle, six cents, if by more than three, an 
additional sum of two cents for every additional ox or 
horse; for every carriole, eight cents; for every cart 
drawn by one horse, four cents ; for every sleigh for the 
conveyance of persons drawn by two horses, six cents, 
and if drawn by more than two horses an additional 
sum of two cents for each horse; for every sled or sleigh 
drawn by one horse, four cents ; for every chaise, chair 
or other wheeled carriage drawn by one horse, six cents; 
for every man and horse, two cents ; for all oxen, horses, 
neat-cattle, led or driven, besides those in carriages and 
teams, five mills; for all sheep and swine, two cents by 
the dozen, and in the same proportion for a greater or 
less number. Provided that nothing in this act shall 
authorize said corporation to demand toll of any person 
who shall be passing with their horse and carriage to or 
from his usual place of public worship, or with his horses, 
team or cattle to or from the common labors of his farm, 
and when no toll-gatherer shall be present at said gate 
to receive the toll, the said gate shall be left open and 



travelers be permitted to pass freely. And the corpora- 
tion shall, at the place where the toll is collected, erect 
and keep constantly exposed to view, a sign or board 
with the rates of toll of all tollable articles, fairly and 
legibly written thereon. And if the said corporation or 
their toll-gatherer, or others by them employed, shall un- 
reasonably delay or hinder any passenger or traveler at 
the gate, or shall demand or receive more toll than by 
this act established, the corporation shall forfeit and pay 
a sum, not exceeding $10.00 or less than $2.00, to be re- 
covered before any justice of the peace for the county of 

The first meeting of the proprietors of the Medford 
Turnpike Corporation was held on the eleventh day of 
April, 1803, at the house of Hezekiah Blanchard, Jr. 
Benjamin Hall was chosen moderator and Luther Stearns 

May 5, 1803. Voted that General Brooks, Luther Stearns and 
Capt. Andrew Hall be a committee to draw up a subscription, and 
that the number of shares shall be 100. 

The following is a list of the proprietors of the Med- 
ford turnpike road, with the number of shares which they 
hold annexed to their names: — 

Benjamin Hall 

John Brooks 
Samuel Buel 
Nathaniel Hall 
Ephraim Hall 
Andrew Hall 
Luther Stearns 
Oliver Hartshorn 
Fitch Hall 
Joseph P. Hall 
Timothy Dexter 
Benjamin Hall Jr & son 
Peter C. Brooks 

Josiah Bradlee 
William V. Hutchins 

10 shares, No*. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 
9, 10. 

3 » »i ™» I2 > *3- 

6 „ ,, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 70. 

3 „ „ 21, 22, 23. 
1 ,, „ 24. 

4 >» » 2 5> 26 > 2 7' 28 - 

4 » >» 2 9*3o>3 T >3 2 - 

5 » »» 34< 35* 3 6 > 37> 3 8 - 
5 »» »* 39> 4o« 4i > 4 2 > 43- 
3 » » 59* 6o » 6l - 

1 ,, „ 64. 

5 9$ »* 65* 66, 67, 68, 69. 

7 ,, „ 19, 20, 77, 78, 79, 80, 


2 „ „ 82, 83. 

5 » " 33> 74* 84, 85, 86. 


Samuel Gray 4 shares, No s . S7, 8S, 89, 90. 

Dudley Half 1 „ „ 75. 

Richard Hall 1 ,, ,, 76. 

John C. Jones 5 „ „ 44, 45, 46, 47, 48. 

Richard D. Tucker 3 „ „ 71,72,73. 

Ebenezer Hall Jr 2 ,, ,, 62, 63. 

Elijah & Samuel Davenport 10 ,, ,, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 

97' 9 S ' 99' IO °. 
Rufus Davenport 10 „ ,, 49' 5°» 5 r » 5 2 ^ 53* 54* 

55* 56, 57* 58- 

At the meeting held May 5, 1803, Nathaniel Hall was 
appointed an agent to petition the Court of General Ses- 
sions to appoint a committee to lay out and appraise the 
lands taken for the Medford turnpike road. At a meet- 
ing held June 18, 1803, it was voted that the officers of 
the corporation shall consist of a president, a standing 
committee of five to lay out and superintend the making 
of the turnpike road, and a treasurer. June 29, 1803, 
Benjamin Hall was chosen president, Nathaniel Hall, 
Andrew Hall, Luther Stearns, Joseph P. Hall and Samuel 
Buel were chosen standing committee, and Samuel Buel 
was chosen treasurer. (Luther Stearns had been chosen 
clerk at a prior meeting.) At a meeting of the standing 
committee on August 22, 1803, it was voted to adopt, as 
a seal of the corporation, the letters M. T. inclosed in a 
heart as a field. September 12, 1803, the committee 
appointed by the Court of General Sessions of the Peace 
to lay out the Medford turnpike road, or such part thereof, 
as with the consent of the proprietors of said turnpike 
they might think proper, made return of the warrant to 
them directed, as follows: — 

Beginning at a stake and stones on the easterly side 
of the road, and by land of the heirs of Col. Isaac Royall, 
deceased, nearly opposite to Dr. Luther Stearns' house 
in Medford, and running southeasterly over land of said 
heirs, one hundred and thirty-seven rods and three- 
quarters of a rod, and here the road is laid out four rods 
wide; and thence the same course two hundred and forty- 
one rods and sixteen links to land of the heirs of Thomas 


Russell, late of Boston, deceased, and here the road is 
laid six rods wide; thence the same course over the land 
of the heirs of said Russell ten rods and fourteen links 
to a stake by land of Elias Haskett Derby, and here the 
road is laid out six rods wide; thence over land of said 
Derby, thirty-eight rods and six links to a heap of stones 
at the point of the rocks, by or near the Middlesex canal,* 
and here the road is laid out three rods wide ; thence the 
road is laid out twenty rods to a stake in the rail fence, 
and here the road is laid out three rods wide ; and thence 
southeasterly fifty-four rods, and here the road is laid out 
six rods wide ; and thence the same course, fifty-two rods 
and six links, and here the road is laid out four rods 
wide; and thence the same course seventy-one rods and 
six links to land of John Tufts, and here the road is laid 
out six rods wide; and thence the same course over the 
land of said Tufts, and partly over the land of the heirs 
of Timothy Tufts, Jr., forty-seven rods and eight links 
to land of William Stearns, and here the road is laid out 
six rods wide; and thence over land of said Stearns and 
partly over land of Benjamin Frothingham, Jr., forty-four 
rods, and here the road is laid out six rods wide; and 
thence the same course forty-six rods to land of Samuel 
Swan, and here the road is laid out four rods wide; thence 
the same course over said Swan's land seven rods to land 
of Andrew Kettle, and here the road is laid out four rods 
wide; thence the same course over said Kettle's land 
ten rods to land of William Smith, and here the road is 
laid out four rods wide; thence the same course over 
said Smith's land twenty-seven rods eight links to a 
stake and stones by the east side of the road opposite 
Page's tavern near the neck in Charlestown, and here 
the road is laid out four rods wide. And all the fore- 
described lines, butts and bounds are in the middle of 
the said turnpike road, except where said road comes to 
northeasterly side of the bank of the Middlesex canal,t 
and there the said side of the bank is the bound of the 

„ *See sketch made by Caleb Swan, Register, Vol. XIV, p. 68, also 
Vol. XIII, p. 97. 

t Register, Vol. XIII, p. 97 


southeasterly side of said turnpike road. . . . And we 
estimate the damages that any man may sustain, or 
which or shall arise to any person by taking his land for 
said road as follows, viz. : 

To the heirs of Isaac Royall, late of Medford, deceased, 
$2,390.00; the heirs of Thomas Russell, late of Boston, 
deceased, $65.50; Elias Haskett Derby, $2,362.00; John 
Tufts, $550.00; the heirs of Timothy Tufts, Jr., late of 
Charlestown, deceased, $1.00; Dr. William Stearns, 
$910.00; Benjamin Frothingham, Jr., $62.50; Samuel 
Swan, $105.00; Andrew Kettle, $150.00; William Smith, 
$635.00; making a total of $7,231.00. 

January 26, 1804, a committee was chosen to consider 
the expediency of building a hotel. At a subsequent 
meeting the committee reported that it was inexpedient 
to build at present, but recommended that a committee 
be appointed and authorized to purchase a piece of land 
immediately for the building of a hotel at some future 
day. Still later another committee was appointed to 
enquire into the expenses and report a plan for a hotel. 
No action by the corporation concerning the building of 
a hotel was taken after the appointment of this commit- 
tee, as the building of the Medford house commencing 
about this time obviated the necessity of any further 
action.* February 13, 1804, the standing committee 
was directed to purchase a piece of land on or near the 
farm of General Derby and build a house suitable for a 
toll-man. The committee contracted with Buckman and 
Wait, carpenters, to build the house at a cost of $300.00. 
Mr. James Kidder was appointed toll-gatherer, his com- 
pensation for the year following to be $350.00 and the 
use of the house. February 22, 1805, a committee was 
chosen to attend the General Court and oppose the pas- 
sage of the cut or canal t through the turnpike into 
Mystic river which has been petitioned for by Benjamin 
Hall and others. June 27, 1805, voted, that in future 
the affairs of the corporation shall be conducted by five 

* The Medford house was built in 1805 and opened as a tavern that same year, 
t The branch canal. 


proprietors who shall be annually chosen directors, and 
who shall choose a president out of their own body. 

About halfway between the Medford and Charlestown 
line and the toll house there was a private way leading 
from the farm of E. H. Derby* to Broadway, now known 
as Temple street in Somerviile. Certain persons desir- 
ous of avoiding the climb over Winter Hill and also de- 
sirous of avoiding the payment of toll, were in the habit 
of using the Medford end of the turnpike and passing 
through the private way to Broadway, and on their return 
passing over the same route. The proprietors of the 
road petitioned the General Court for additional legisla- 
tion to put a stop to this practice. An act was passed 
March 8, 1808, providing that "from and after the pas- 
sage of this Act, if any person with a team, carriage, cattle 
or horses shall turn out of or into the road of the Med- 
ford Turnpike Corporation with an attempt to avoid any 
toll established by law, such persons shall forfeit and pay 
three times as much as the legal toll at the Turnpike 
gate established as aforesaid ; to be recovered by the 
Treasurer of the Corporation by an Action of debt. . . ." 

At a meeting of the corporation held January 6, 1812, 
the Treasurer's account being examined showed that the 
amount of money received in the quarter ending Janu- 
ary 1, 18 1 2, was $673.2 1, and the amount of expenditure 
$302.05, and it was ordered that a dividend of four 
dollars be paid on each share. At a meeting held 
August 27, 1838, a committee was chosen to act on be- 
half of the corporation, touching the petition of Daniel 
Lawrence and others, then pending before the county 
commissioners, with full powers to give the assent of the 
corporation to the prayer of the petitioners for laying 
out the said turnpike road for a public highway, when- 
ever the said committee shall receive satisfactory assur- 
ances that the compensation or damages to be allowed 
by said commissioners will not be less than $75.00 on 
each share. 

*The Temple estate or "Ten-hill farm" of Governor Winthrop. 


The county commissioners declined to take action 
upon the above petition. At a meeting held April 10, 
1843, it was voted to pay L. Spaulding for work done 
on the turnpike for the year ensuing $1.25 per day for 
April, May, June, July, August, September, October and 
November, and §1.00 per day for December, January and 
March, and $1.00 per day for horse and cart for the year. 
Also to pay fifty dollars per quarter for tending the toll 
gate. When the building of the Medford branch rail- 
road was under consideration ( 1846) the Turnpike Cor- 
poration voted to sell the franchise of the corporation to 
the Boston and Maine Railroad Extension Company 
(later called the B. & M. Railroad Co.) for the sum of 
$10,000 including all the damage sustained by the rail- 
road crossing said turnpike. September 6, i860, it was 
voted to sell the land and buildings then occupied by the 
toll gatherer, Thomas Perkins, to the said Perkins for the 
sum of $600.00. 

At a meeting held May 8, 186 1, it was voted that the 
corporation hereby give their consent to the county com- 
missioners of Middlesex County to lay open their road 
as a public highway, upon the petition of George T. 
Cutter and others, the said commissioners awarding to 
the corporation what damages shall in their judgment be 
right and just. The committee appointed to confer with 
the county commissioners reported that the commission- 
ers do not deem it expedient to take any action at present. 

At a meeting held January 24, 1866, it was voted that 
the directors be directed to petition the legislature for 
leave to abandon the Medford turnpike. The petition 
was presented January 27, 1866, and leave to* abandon 
was granted, and the road was laid out by the county 
commissioners as a public way. The amount of assess- 
ments on each share was $430.00, making a total of 
$43,000.00. The number of dividends was 129, but the 
total amount is not stated in the records. 

The foregoing history of the Medford Turnpike Cor- 
poration is taken largely from the record book of the 


corporation. It is evident that the undertaking was not 
a profitable one, and that during the last thirty years of 
the existence of the corporation it was the main object 
of the proprietors to rid themselves of the burden of its 
maintenance. The laying out of Medford street in 
Medford and Somerville around the southerly side of 
Winter Hill, thus avoiding the climb over the top of the 
hill, contributed to reduce the revenue of the company 
and thus assisted in its final collapse. 

The turnpike road was used by the sporting portion 
of the community as a course for the speeding of horses. 
There was a tree which stood on the southerly side of 
the road that was just one mile from the old saw and grist 
mill. The only disadvantages experienced by the sports- 
men were the clouds of dust that filled the air, for the 
road was about the dustiest place to be found far or near. 

An interesting incident that happened in those days 
was due to the dust before mentioned : A wealthy citi- 
zen of Medford, doing business in Boston, was in the 
habit of driving to and fro between his place of business 
and his home in Medford. These same sports, above 
mentioned, found great pleasure in annoying our towns- 
man by speeding their horses by and in front of him, 
compelling him to be almost smothered by the dust 
raised by their horses' feet. Our townsman stood the 
annoyance until forbearance ceased to be a virtue with 
him. Then he placed an order with a horse dealer for a 
horse to beat the crowd at whatever cost. He got what 
he wanted, and took no more dust from anyone. 

We never heard of the toll-gatherer being robbed of 
a busy day's receipts, as was the case in other places, but 
the turnpike road was once the scene of a sensational 
highway robbery, when Major Bray was held up and 
robbed by the notorious highwayman, Mike Martin. It 
is said that on Mrs. Bray's handing over her watch, the 
"knight of the road " immediately returned it, saying he 
" never robbed a lady." 

It was quite a common sight to see Colonel Samuel 


Jaques of the Ten-hills farm, bugle in hand, ride up and 
down the road to and from the hunting grounds mounted 
on his hunting horse and followed by a pack of hounds. 


More About the Turnpike 

There has recently come into the possession of the 
Medford Historical Society the record book of the Med- 
ford Turnpike Corporation. Of its two hundred and 
sixty-eight pages, one hundred and forty-one are occu- 
pied with the act of incorporation, passed March 2, 1803, 
the records of various contracts, and of stockholders* and 
directors' meetings, closing with that of January 24, 1866. 
Its unruled pages are enclosed in stiff board covers, eight 
by thirteen inches in size. These were once covered 
with two layers of leather, shown by fragments remaining 
and folded over the edges, and fly-leaves securely pasted 
over them. On the first of the latter, in the upper left- 
hand, appears (in pencil), "3 Qr. $1.50." 

Following the transcript of the charter is a copy of 
advertisement in the Ce7iti?iel, calling the first meeting 
to be held on April it, 1803, at the tavern of Hezekiah 
Blanchard, Jr. Benjamin Hall was its moderator, and 
Luther Stearns clerk, continuing as such until 182 1. 

This is the book referred to by Mr. Hooper in this 
issue. Since his article was written there has been pub- 
lished a work entitled, " The Turnpikes of New England." 
Its author, a civil engineer, in preparing a report on 
some public utility, ventured (as he says) into the histori- 
cal side of the matter. Search in an extensive library, 
under the head of turnpikes, yielded him nothing but 
in one instance, and that a work of fiction. Nothing 
daunted, he began to gather authentic facts, with a maga- 
zine article in prospect. The work grew in his hands, 
until now after twelve years of remarkable research, a 
volume of over four hundred pages is the result. 

Among the fine illustrations are eight views in Med- 


ford. One hundred and fifty pages are devoted to "Turn- 
pikes of Massachusetts," some seventy in number. If the 
author could have seen this old record book he would 
have found some of his deductions relative to Medford 
turnpike (which he reached by sound reasoning rather 
than by any real evidence) well sustained, and they were 
contrary to those expressed in history of Medford. With 
data therefrom, his very readable Medford page might 
have been quadrupled. 

The first thirty years of the nineteenth century was 
the era of canal and turnpike development. In whose 
brain the idea of a level road to Charlestown, in two un- 
broken straight lines, originated, we cannot say; probably 
that of Benjamin Hall, then the leading business man 
of Medford, who took one-tenth of its capital stock. 

Medford was, in 1803, a town of but twelve hundred 
inhabitants, its only direct route to Boston being the old 
road over the top of Winter hill, through Charlestown 
to the Charles river bridge but fourteen years built. It 
was a long, hard pull up and over the hill, not only for 
the local teams, but for the much greater volume of traffic 
and the stages from northern Middlesex and New Hamp- 
shire. So this new, shorter, and level route was ap- 
parently a feasible, practical and desirable investment. 
Steam travel was then thirty years in the future, electric 
power unheard of, and the automobile undreamed of. 

There were no serious engineering problems to cope 
with. It crossed but two water-courses, Two-penny and 
Winter brooks, both insignificant, though Captain Adams 
was very early inquiring about their " culvits," the sluices 
the charter required. More expensive to build and main- 
tain was the bridge by which it crossed the Middlesex 
canal near its terminal in Charlestown. 

Only at one other point were they two close neighbors 
— where they crossed the town line. The canal, only the 
previous year, had used about all the available space in 
the base of the ledgy hill for its course, and the turnpike 
company had to build a " river wall " for some distance 


to sustain its road. In 1840 this was rebuilt by Messrs. 
Ackerman & Co. for a dozen rods for $351.00. This 
locality was commonly known as the u Rock," * and was 
the place where the adroit stage-drivers, in passing, 
sprinkled a few drops of Concord river water from the 
canal into the salt Mystic with their whip-lashes to the 
passengers' amusement. 

For the greater part of its length of three and a half 
miles its mode of construction was simple. The marsh 
mud dug from a dozen feet on each edge of the six-rod 
lay-out was piled upon the central space, and the em- 
bankment thus formed surfaced with gravel, hauled on 
by the " two yoke of oxen " in a " broad-wheeled wagon," 
the record mentions. 

At our present reading, and considering the wages 
paid a century ago, it seems as if the company paid big 
money for some of its land, and much more for construc- 
tion, to have expended $44,000.00 thereon, to say noth- 
ing of the continual resurfacing required. 

Once entered upon this road, the traveler was com- 
pelled to follow its course, as the ditch on either side 
was either filled by tidewater or would mire him if he 
attempted to cross to the public road before reaching 
the toll-gate. Though there were a few bridges across 
the intervening canal, they were private property, and 
their approaches closed. 

There was one, however, beyond the " Rock," that 
gave trouble, and special legislation was secured to pro- 
tect the company from the " Shunpikers " that made a 
practice of evading toll by using General Derby's lane 
across Ten Hills farm to present Broadway. Between 
this and " Ploughed hill" (later known as Mt. Benedict) 
was the " dyked marsh " and clay land, with numerous 
brick yards. The site of some of these later became a 
nuisance, abated by the city of Somerville in the early 
seventies by the making of its park and widening 
of Broadway. 

♦See Register, Vol. XIII, p. 79. 


On the summit of Ploughed hill was, in 1826, erected 
the convent of St. Ursula, burned by a mob from Boston 
on the night of August 11, 1834. It is said that the 
courage of the rioters was largely increased by the " ar- 
rival of a barrel of rum from Medford." Of this we can- 
not with certainty say, but the blackened ruins of the 
walls stood, witnessing to the disgraceful proceeding, for 
more than thirty-four years, when the hill began to be 
reduced to the present grade. 

As the toll-gate and keeper's house was at the base of 
Ploughed hill, quite near the southern end, it is evident 
that the Sfumpikers were inward bound. 

The question is naturally asked, " Was the turnpike a 
paying proposition ? " Major Wood in his work says, 

Of course no turnpike was a gilt-edged security, but the Medford 
must have been one of the best and a moderate dividend payer. 

From the record book it is difficult to say just when 
its first was paid. Under date of January 6, 18 10, is — 


That instead of making a dividend for the quarter which ended 
on the first day of the present month that the Treasurer be author- 
ized to purchase one acre of gravel land adjoining the turnpike and 
canal at or under three hundred dollars and that previously to his 
making the payment that he be requested to be satisfyed with the 
title and to have a deed in the name of the Medford Turnpike Cor- 
poration and have the same immediately put on record 

P. C. Brooks Pres 1 . 

This vote is in the elegant handwriting of George L. 
Stearns, son of the clerk. It alludes to the continual 
repair that was needful. 

The first recorded dividend is of date January 1, 18 12, 
$4.00; the second recorded, July 5, 18 13, $4.00. There 
may have been dividends paid prior to the above, as by 
the record of October 12, 1804, it was voted 

That the first dividend of the toll shall be made by the standing 
committee on the first day of January 1S05 and that dividends shall 
be made quarterly ever afterwards 

Doctor Stearns died suddenly in 1820, and was sue- 


ceeded by 'Squire Abner Bartlett, who served for twenty- 
one years, and his record, clear and explicit, in good black 
ink in characters as formidable as the turnpike gates, 
makes no mention whatever of dividends. James O. 
Curtis succeeded him in 1841, and on June 29, 1842, 
recorded — 

Voted to make a dividend of two dollars on a share from the 
funds in the treasury, it being the 10S dividend 

After ten years George Curtis succeeded to the office 
of clerk and served thirteen years. He recorded the re- 
maining dividends, the last, September 15, i860. The 
two preceding had resulted from the sale of gravel land 
purchased from the canal company at its closure, and the 
last (the 129th) from the sale of the toll-house, $6.00 to 
each of the one hundred shares. 

Unlike its unfortunate neighbor, the canal, the turn- 
pike now had no available or salable holdings, and for 
six years held its annual meetings, elected officers, voted 
a'compensation of $15.00 to its agent and $5.00 to the 
clerk. Its last record, January 24, 1866, tells its pathetic 

That the Directors be directed to petition the Legislature to 
abandon the Medford Turnpike 
Voted, to dissolve. 

A pencilled line follows — 

Petition presented in House Jan 27 '66 

After sixty-three years the original stockholders had 
passed on and their shares were held by their heirs or 
assigns by purchase in its better days. To them there 
was nothing coming. 

It would be of interest to know just what was realized 
in dividends for the use of the $440.00 per share invested 
in 1803-4. The Middlesex canal, on ceasing to pay 
dividends in 1843 na< ^ returned to its stockholders 1.39 
per cent, on their investment, but had the proceeds of 
its property to distribute at the last. It was styled finan- 
cially a dismal failure. 



We have not the data by which to make such a com- 
putation of the turnpike as was made by the canal agent 
in 1843. We fear that could such be obtained, if ever 
the treasurer's books reappear, the Medford turnpike 
will make a more dismal showing. 

M. W. M. 

In a press notice of Turnpikes of New England, its 
writer quotes " rare Ben Johnson" as saying: 

I. turn up my axle like a turnpike. 

Having in his boyhood journeyed over the Medford 
turnpike and been held up thereon, not by highwaymen 
but by " toll-gatherer," until the requisite coin was pro- 
duced, the present writer can claim a slight acquaintance. 
But as " rare Ben Johnson " lived and flourished in the 
sixteenth century, there is no one in Medford who knew 
him personally, or saw him turn up his axle. Ask any 
of the older people in Medford what was or is a turn- 
pike and the reply will be, "Why, it was Mystic avenue ; " 
or, " It is a road on which a toll is paid for the privilege 
of traveling thereon." But how did Ben Johnson turn 
up his axle (whatever that was) to make it resemble 
Mystic avenue or any other toll road? 

Upon consulting the dictionary, a great help in trouble, 
we find its definition of turnpike to be : 

Ordinary Language. (1.) A frame, consisting of two bars cross- 
ing at right angles, and turning on a pin or post placed on a road 
or footpath to hinder the passage of beasts, but admitting a person 
to pass between the arms. (2.) A turnstile. 

This was supported by a quotation : 

I move upon my axle like a turnpike. 

— Ben Johnson, Staple of News ', ///, /. 

Further search in our Public Library (by the ready 
courtesy of one of the staff) shows that Ben Johnson 
didn't turn up his axle. Rather, he dug into ancient 
mythology, and made one of his characters (Picklock by 
name) to say: 





Tut, I am Vertumnus. On every change, or chance, upon oc- 
casion a true chamelion ; I can colour for it, 
I move upon my axle like a turnpike, 
Fit my face to the parties, and become straight one of them. 

Neither did the said (aptly named) Vertumnus " turn 
up " his axle, or turn up on it, but moved (or turned) upon 
it. He was a sort of all things to all men and every- 
thing to everybody. It is evident that " rare Ben John- 
son " was misquoted in the recent press notice, otherwise 
an excellent one. 

The " Medford Turnpike Corporation " (like all others) 
by its charter was authorized to set up and maintain "a 
turnpike gate or gates." Old residents cannot remem- 
ber any such as above described, and there is nothing in 
the u Act " that speaks of toll on pedestrians. They tell 
of the toll-gate as a bar or pole, hung at one end and 
swinging horizontally across the road. Other roads were 
barred by a pole raised to a vertical position while teams 
passed by. Out of this latter form has been evolved 
(since 1870), the universally adopted gate now in use at 
railway grade crossings. 

Referring to our dictionary definition, some may ask 
the difference between turnpike and turnstile : A pike 
was a weapon of ancient time, cruder and blunter than a 
spear, yet pick-ed, peak-ed, or piked at its " business end." 
So in a turn-pike, the ends of the wooden bars were cut 
on an angle, i.e., pick-ed. When more consideration was 
shown for the comfort and safety of the passers, the ends 
of the bars were left square, or rounded somewhat, and 
such arrangement came to be known as a turn-stile. 

Doubtless there were others of this latter in Medford, 
but the only one the present writer recalls was on High 
street, at present Kilgore avenue, in 1870 and later. The 
city of Charlestown had an easement right, through the 
Brooks estate to its dam at the partings of Medford pond. 
At that time there was a wall of Medford granite the 
entire distance from the railroad to Wear bridge, only 
broken by Grove street, the " Delta " and the farm gates. 


One of these was over the water works conduit,* and be- 
side it was a turnstile of two-inch plank. On a pleasant 
Sunday afternoon the writer made his first visit to the 
Mystic dam, in company with several gentlemen, one of 
whom, rather portly, found it a " close squeeze," as he 
said, to get through. 

But the real turnpike did not pass away when the toll 
or turnpike roads became free. It continues in use, very 
much in evidence, today. The first railroad chartered 
in Massachusetts had provision for toll-gates at intervals, 
evidently with the thought that private individuals 
might operate their own cars on its railed roadbed. It 
erected gates at its only grade crossing in Medford, at 
High street, and its station or " depot" there was known 
as " Medford Gates." These were for public protection,! 
and not toll-gates. Instead of a number of " toll-gath- 
erers " along the line, there is but one, and he accom- 
panies the train, comes around at intervals and collects 
our toll. He is called by the pleasanter sounding name 
of u conductor," but we pay the toll just the same. The 
railway terminals have sliding pike gates, through which 
patrons pass easily, but have been on some occasions 
obliged to show tickets before passing. 

But reserved for later years and the Boston Elevated 
and Terminal service was and is the real genuine turnpike, 
elaborated in various forms. Unlike the old stile that 
turned both ways, one more like a turnstile moves inward. 
To enter, one has to " fit face to the party," walk up to 
the pagoda where sits enthroned the goddess of the gate, 
deposit a dime in her treasure chest, and wait her pleas- 
ure in pressing her dainty foot on the lever that unlocks 
the gate and allows your ingress. Even then your troubles 
are not over. Perchance you wait for a time, but you 
insinuate yourself into a crowded car, jammed in by the 
crowd behind you, or perhaps pushed in by the attend- 
ing guard as the rubber shod push-pike (styled the door) 
closes behind you, and cautions you not to lean against it. 

•See Register, Vol. XX, p. 1. 

tSee Register, Vol. VIII, p. 86, Vol. XVII, p. 88. 


Beside the entrance turnstile is the exit to the outer 
world, and this is the real thing. A veritable turnpike, 
taller than you, with three dozen pikes (smooth, to be 
sure) set at right angles from a tall post, turns outward 
and lets you depart, only later to renew your experience. 

But Ben Johnson's turnpike had no escalator. Uncle 
Sam has a modification of the turnpike at the Boston 
post office entrances, in the form of revolving doors, and 
so do the great department stores. At these there is no 
toll taken on going in ; generally we spend more or less 
before coming out. But in all cases, whether steam or 
electric railroad, post office, or department store, we are 
supposed to get our money's worth. The patrons of the 
Medford turnpike did, but we fear the investing proprie- 
tors, or rather their successors, thought otherwise at last. 

The turnpike or toll roads are gone, the real turn- 
pikes are still with us. 


Whether the proprietors of the Medford turnpike 
" builded better than they knew " or not is unknown to 
any of whom we may now enquire, but the fact was that 
by its building, a water power was created and later im- 
proved as a mill privilege by the owners (or their assigns) 
of the marsh land through which it passed. 

One Captain Adams evidently saw possibilities as 
shown by the proprietor's record of August 23, 1804: 

Voted, That the request of Captain Adams respecting the Cul- 
vits be referred to the Committee to report their opinion at the next 

Also of Friday, October 12, 1804: 

Voted, That the Standing Committee be authorized to make a 
contract with Captain Nathan Adams respecting the flow of water 
at the Culvits. 

These " culvits " were the stone bridges built to carry 
the " causey" or turnpike road over Two-penny and Win- 
ter brooks. Both had their source in Somerville, and 


flowed through the southern corner of Medford into 
Mystic river. The latter is now mostly subterranean at 
Tufts park. The former has lately been before our 
Board of Aldermen for alleged misconduct. Its source is 
on the southern slope of College (Walnut Tree) hill, near 
Broadway, and its course through the Tufts athletic 
field can easily be traced, but often innocent of water 
Passing beneath the railroad its course (when it has any, 
as in recent years) is changed somewhat,* but returns to 
the old, before crossing the highway, and at the turnpike 
widens, and is the " Canal cut from Medford river wherein 
a lighter can come up,"t once belonging to Isaac Royall. 
It does not appear that Captain Adams developed any 
water power from Two-penny brook; it was more likely 
that his action was in the interest of his brick yards 
near by. 

But in 1813, in July, signed by Peter C. Brooks, presi- 
dent (and the seal of the corporation), on the part of the 
turnpike proprietors, and Samuel Dexter (and a seal) 
was the following " contract " : 

The Medford Turnpike Corporation agree with Samuel Dexter 
of Boston Esqr. that he, his heirs and assigns forever, shall have the 
right of opening and keeping open a sluiceway under the Medford 
Turnpike, in addition to that which has been opened and is main- 
tained at the expense of the corporation. The said new sluice to 
be opened and maintained for the benefit of the said Dexter, and 
at the proper charge of him, his heirs and assigns. Which is not 
to exceed five feet in height or in breadth. And it is also agreed 
that said Dexter, his heirs and assigns shall have the right of mak- 
ing and managing gates on either side of either of said sluiceways, 
for the purpose of flowing his marsh with salt water or with fresh 
water, or draining the same at oleasure. And said Dexter for him- 
self, his heirs and assigns, agrees with the said corporation, that 
they shall be forever indemnified for any damage that shall mani- 
festly appear to be occasioned to said turnpike road on the old sluice- 
way by said sluice so to be opened by him, or by the flowing of 
said marsh as aforesaid. And if the parties cannot agree upon the 
same, it shall be ascertained by three referees, and if they cannot 
agree on such referees, the said corporation shall have the right at 
all times to apply to the Chief Justice of the Sup. Jud. Court of 

•See Register, Vol. XIX, p. 13, Com. of J. H. Hooper. 
tSee Register, Vol. XVI, p. 77. 


Massachusetts for the time being, to appoint them, and the award 
of such referees or the major part of them shall be final, and if the 
same shall not be satisfied by sd. Dexter, his heirs and assigns in 
thirty days after notice of such award and demand of payment in 
writing, this agreement shall be void ; but said Dexter, his heirs 
and assigns, to satisfy such award notwithstanding. 

Then follows the other part whereby Dexter (of Bos- 
ton) guarantees the privilege of taking broken stone and 
gravel under certain limitations as consideration on his 

It may be noticed that the above contains nothing of 
a mill either already built, or to be built, but probably 
business men of the ability of Mr. Brooks and his asso- 
ciates knew what they were doing. With the incoming 
of the salt-water tide twice a day to flood the mash, as 
many called it, assisted by the fresh water of the brooks, 
the privileges thus granted created a new water power or 
mill privilege, in Medford, and the turnpike thus became, 
though never so called, a milldam road. Sometimes, 
however, it was called by a shorter prefix. 

In 1848 the turnpike agent was directed "to Consult 
Counsell," and later "to confer with the Messrs. Tufts 
in regard to damage sustained by the corporation by 
their neglecting to maintain their culvert," etc. The re- 
sult of this conference was a three-party agreement. The 
first party was the owner of the farm occupied by J. Q. 
Adams; the second, the turnpike company; and the 
third " the owners of the saw and grist mills on the turn- 
pike," William Tufts, Edward Tufts and Gershom 
Cutter. The first two and Joseph F. Tufts were the 
farm owners, and James O. Curtis, treasurer, represented 
the turnpike, which for a similar consideration of stone 
and gravel, agreed that the mill owners, 

their heirs and assigns shall retain the right to the Culvert or sluice 
at said mills, and the right to keep the same open forever, under the 
conditions hereinafter named: said owners, their heirs and assigns, 
to maintain at their own expense and to keep in good repair so far 
as same affects said Turnpike. Said Culvert at the mills is in addi- 
tion to that which has been opened by said Corporation, and which 



is to be kept free and maintained forever at the sole expense of said 
Corporation. . . . 

This agreement shall terminate and become void if said Turn- 
pike should be changed to a County road ; or if the proprietors of 
said mills shall cease to use the water privilege connected there- 
with. But in no other event to become void within twelve years 
from date hereof. And in any event to become void at the expira- 
tion of twelve years. 

It appears by record of January 4, 1834, that Nathan 
Tufts asked for leave to open a cut through the road, 
fifteen feet wide, to carry his new mill near the " Rock," 
so called. This indicates that there had been at least 
one prior to that date. 

William R. Cutter, in Register, Vol. Ill, p. 130, says: 

Gershom Cutter, in 1S45, purchased the Tufts mill on the Med- 
ford Turnpike, rebuilt that structure which had been destroyed by 
fire and which was again burnt while in his charge. He was 
mainly engaged in sawing of mahogany. 

By the above we see that at least four successive mills 
stood on that spot — the extreme point of marsh land be- 
tween the river and turnpike at the " Rock." The Cutter 
residence was on the opposite side of the road. (See 

The Walling map of Medford shows (apparently) a dike 
extending diagonally across the marsh (including the 
mouth of Winter brook) to the river. Probably as much 
power was had at this mill as at Mr. Cutter's former 
location on old Ship street, but like all tide-mills, the 
hours of labor had of necessity to conform to the ever- 
changing hours of " full sea " and ebb of the tide that 
"waits for no man," but serves well. Though the agree- 
ment of 1848 refers to saw and grist mills, it is unlikely 
that the later ones were other than saw mills. 

The sawing of mahogany is a "forgotten industry" of 
Medford. But in those days it was an important one in 
Medford and South Woburn (later Winchester); at the 
latter it continued until the destruction by fire of the 
Cutter mills about 1872. The great logs, hewed square, 
were hauled from Charlestown by teams of horses, two 



to five harnessed tandem, — string team it used to be 
called, and often but two logs made the load, so large 
and heavy were they. Such could only be sawed by the* 
old style up-and-down saw into boards and planks. The 
smaller and costlier ones of "branch" and "burl" were 
made into veneers by a circular saw some five feet in 
diameter. Its teeth were cut in steel plates, in segments 
a foot long and fastened by screws to the circumference 
of an iron disk at the end of an arbor. In this sawing 
of veneers as much valuable wood was wasted in saw- 
dust as was obtained by the process. This led to the 
invention and building at Winchester, in 1867, of a 
machine that cut by knife process logs up to twelve feet 
long into veneers as thin as one hundred to the inch, 
wasting practically nothing. 

Just when this Medford mill ceased operation, or 
whether it ceased by limitation contained in the above 
agreement, we may not say with certainty. The Fire 
Department report says : 

Jan. 21, 1872. Mill building on Mystic Ave., supposed to be 
by incendiary. The building was a total loss. 

This account is written at some length, because neither 
Mr. Brooks nor Mr. Usher made any mention of this 
mill in their History of Medford. Mr. Hooper, in the 
scant space allotted him, made brief note of it, but the 
Register, in Vol. XIV, p. 68, fixed the identity of the 
"miller's dwelling," (Gershom Cutter's) a view of which 
had been shown as the toll-house several times, unchal- 
lenged. This house is said to have been burnt, but as 
yet we find no record of the fire. It is probable that 
the view we present was secured about 1890, by Mr. 
Will C. Eddy. With its burning disappeared the last 
vestige of a Medford business covering a period of fifty 
years; unless, indeed, something of the dike may be 
traced. If so, even that may be obliterated if the pro- 
jected improvements upon the Mystic materialize. 

1920.] 23 


In the October, 1919, issue of the Register appears a 
view of Forest street, originally the Andover turnpike, 
also " Scraps of Paper " relative thereto. 

As this is Tur?ipike member we show its toll-house 
by the forethought of the late George E. Davenport, who 
secured the view long after the old toll-road had become 
a public highway. 

The road itself for the six miles from Medford square 
to Reading line represented an outlay of nearly $50,000. 
Its proprietors were supposed to make annual return to 
the State authorities, and are said to have done so con- 
cerning their first two years' business, being an algebraic 
sum of minus $250. In not continuing to report, they 
were not more negligent than others, and probably no 
more profitable than others. 

The Andover was a continuation of the Essex turn- 
pike, which seems to have built the portion through 
Reading. It is said that there was provision for the main- 
tenance of one gate at the county line. Be that as it may, 
it is certain that there was a toll-gate at this house in 
Medford. Major Wood says that in declaring the turn- 
pike a public road, the county commissioners awarded the 
proprietors $3,000 damage and allowed them eighteen 
days to remove their gates and personal property ; also 
that the dissatisfied corporation asked for a jury award, 
which being refused, next petitioned the Supreme Court 
for a mandamus in the case, also denied, and that in 1837 
the Andover and Medford turnpike passed into history. 
It would appear that the commissioners were more gener- 
ous than with the Medford, who in point of time " went 
further and fared worse." 

The old toll-road has become a beautiful residential 
street. Two of the old mile-stones remain in position. 
Near the first it is joined by the Fellsway, and close there 
also the street railway tracks extend onward into the 
Reservation, making the locality better known than ever 
it could have been in turnpike days. As can be seen, 

24 THE ANDOVER TURNPIKE. [March, 1920.] 

the toll-house was a substantial structure, as were those 
of its day. Save that it had a central chimney, instead 
of two at the rear, it was a counterpart of those erected 
just before at West Medford and Wilmington by the 
Middlesex Canal Company. The latter, in 1807, was 
built at a cost of $833.73 (as per record)* and the same 
figure may well apply to this. Inquiry as to whether 
this house still remains brings no satisfactory reply. It 
may have been burnt, removed, or remodelled to differ- 
ent style during the years that have elapsed. Mr. Hooper 
informs us that though this was the residence of the toll- 
man and his family, the real toll-house was a little cabin 
on the other side of the road. It resembled the old-time 
shoemakers' shops, once so numerous in Eastern Massa- 
chusetts, and may have been thus used. This has long 
since gone, but the turnpike road has improved. 


One letter wrong makes a lot of difference sometimes. 
In our last issue appears on p. 69: 
Sunday School mistresses for poor, 32.98. 

The typesetter followed copy carefully in capitalization, 
but though proficient in the three R's, substituted an a 
for the one in Sundry, and the proof-reader, (and editor 
likewise) let it " get by " in four readings, to stare at us 
at publication. 

As it stands (Vol. XXII, p. 69), it is an anachronism 
as well as a mis-statement. There were no Sunday 
schools in Medford in 18 19, and certainly Medford as a 
town never paid any teachers in such, had there been 
any. The statement should have read: 

Sundry School mistresses for poor 32.98. 

"Middlesex Canal record. 






ss r 

Mi ' l 

f.ffl i 

4* 'if. : 


( •. - . 



The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIII. JUNE, 1920. No. 2. 



N May 16, 1805, the Massachusetts Legislature 

An ACT to incorporate Benjamin Hall, Esquire and others, by 
the Name of Proprietors of the Medford Branch Canal and Locks 
between the Middlesex Canal and Mystic River, and easterly of the 
Post Road leading from Charlestown to Medford. 

A bibliography of that old Middlesex canal would be 
of much interest as, judging by the articles (often illus- 
trated) that have appeared in the weekly issues of Eos- 
ton papers, there is a fascination connected therewith. 
The writer confesses to having come under its spell, and 
derived much pleasure and satisfaction therefrom, even 
though it entailed much study, work and travel. Some 
years since he was rallied a little for his neglect of the 
present subject, having only made the briefest mention 
thereof. Search in his own collection of the work of 
various writers, fails to reveal more attention paid by 
them to this branch canal. The recent acquisition by 
the Historical Society of the original record book of the 
Medford Turnpike Corporation gives some data, and the 
present seems a fitting time to notice this short but essen- 
tial connection of the famous old waterway with the 
" Medford river " of those days (the Mistick of earlier), 
today called Mystic. 

Why essential ? First, because the Middlesex canal 
(opened two years before) was a through line to Charles 
river and Boston. Contrary to original intent, it left 
Medford at one side with only a " way station " at the 
further end of its first level in a corner of the " West 
End." There the original survey was commenced by 


" Samuel Thompson of Woburn, who began his work 
and proceeded from Medford river near the location of 
the present lock."* 

There, zvas to have been the southern terminal of the 
canal, and from there the tidal flow of the river made 
a continuous waterway through Medford to Boston 
harbor. At that identical spot this article is written. 

Second, because a new industry (perhaps unthought of 
at the inception of the canal) had arisen in Medford, i.e., 
ship-building. It was a " long haul " and a heavy one 
to transport ship timber up and down hill for two miles, 
as was the case of that coming down from the north 
country on the canal, and the same was true of other 

Third, it was claimed that the management was not 
of the best, and that the canal was deficient in one im- 
portant requisite, viz., water. It was also said that its 
extension to Charlestown had been unwise, and perhaps 
the Medford Branch canal proprietors anticipated this 
to be a remedy. The shortage of water was later re- 
lieved by placing ten-inch flashboards on the dam across 
Concord river at Billerica. The canal proprietors had 
to fight in the courts for what they got, and the reports 
thereof are interesting reading today. Benjamin Hall, 
the principal corporator, left on record his views of the 
matter, plainly expressed.! 

Itt is Very Evident that the Corporation has not Fullfill'd there 
Part of the Act Untill they have Lockt the same in Medford River. 

The legislative record states that permission had been 
obtained for connecting with the Middlesex canal. The 
act fixed the capital stock at thirty shares, one vote to 
each, provided no one shareholder had more than five 
shares. It allowed them to hold real estate to the value 
of ten thousand dollars, and fixed the rate of toll at one- 
sixteenth of a dollar per ton ; toll was to commence as 
soon as the canal was completed. It also gave specific 
direction as to construction and maintenance of a bridge 

*See Historical Sketch of Caleb Eddy, agent of canal, 1843. 
tSee Register, Vol. Ill, p. 87. 


for the Medford turnpike. This branch canal was of 
necessity at a lower level than the other and required 
two locks for its operation. Land was purchased of 
Samuel Dexter and William H. Sumner (owners of 
Royall estate), seven and one-half acres and two rods for 
$751.25, and was to revert to the grantors if disused 
for two years. 

A storage basin* was constructed on this land, beside 
the main canal, with a side lock, or gates, in the embank- 
ment to give access thereto. Mr. Hooper, who when a 
boy lived nearby on the turnpike, says the lock was a big 
timber-framed box between two heavy stone walls which 
were several feet away, and timber braces between, up 
and down which the boys could climb. His description 
tallies with that given by others of the wooden locks of 
the Middlesex canal. 

At the opposite side of the basin, a lock was built like 
those in the canal, and from it to the river the branch 
canal was excavated at the requisite lower level. There 
another lock of the same size was erected, but with tidal 
gates at the river end. These locks were of timber and 
plank construction, reinforced by heavy stone walls. 
The remains of the latter lock, slowly decaying for sixty 
years, were removed but a few years ago, when the ex- 
tension of the parkway was made along the river's edge. 

That the branch canal was completed and in opera- 
tion in 1807, is shown by Miss Wild in her excellent 
memorial of Benjamin Hallf as follows: 

In two years (1S07 to 1S09) $256.98 were received for tolls. 
Jonathan Warner and John Jaquith were the keepers of the locks. 
The first dividend was declared in February, 1S09 — four dollars on 
a share of one hundred dollars. 

The Middlesex canal paid none till 18 19. 

How long the branch maintained a separate corporate 
existence, or that it was merged with the other we may 
not say, but we know the time came when it shared in 
the decadence and final abandonment in 1852. 

*The area of this is still noticeable near Mystic avenue. 
tSee Register, Vol. Ill, p. 88. 


From 1S19 to 1835 were the "palmy days of the 
canal." Those of the branch began earlier and continued 
longer, as the bulk of its traffic was in ship-timber. It 
is unlikely that it diverted any of the kt through to 
Boston " shipments. How much of Medford's peculiar 
product was exported via the branch we may never 
know, but probably no inconsiderable amount. 

Near the basin was the Columbian Hotel, which 
though on the " Post-road," shared in the general ruin, 
and was cut in two, moved and made into dwellings. 
Some factories were built, and houses along Union street, 
which people called Back street The Branch canal was 
back of that and became a dumping and drainage place. 
We find no reversion of title when " disused for two 
years." Probably the " Proprietors " sold it (as did the 
Middlesex) in closing up their affairs. The unsanitary 
conditions that were created were more evident with 
the introduction of water from Spot Pond in 187 1, and 
the " Branch Canal " figures considerably in the reports 
of the Board of Health in the early seventies. At last 
the nuisance was abated. Along its course are the Teel 
carriage factories, the city stables, Water and Sewer 
Department buildings, and lastly the extension of Mystic 
Valley parkway. 

Across and beside the river are the Cradock dam and 
lock of concrete masonry, erected by the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts. During their construction there stood 
a few rods away the last visible remains of Benjamin 
Hall's enterprise of a century earlier, the river lock of 
the Branch canal. At its beginning Mr. Hall had at- 
tained an age at which most men retire from active en- 
terprise. He saw it completed and ten years in use 
ere he passed on. 

We can record no story of sentiment or romance of it. 
Probably none of the excursions to Bacon's grove or the 
" Lake of the Woods " started on its level. Had they 
done so the following from Bailouts Pictorial of 1855, 
would well describe the "locking through." 


You embarked in a trim built barge with a very comfortable 
cabin, the craft drawn by two horses harnessed tandem. At the 
very outstart you entered a lock. The gates enclosed you in a 
damp wooden receptacle, and you seemed lost to society in the 
bottom of a mouldy chest. But right ahead the water came sizzling 
down from above, and you gradually found yourselves rising in the 
world, finally coming up to quite a respectable elevation. When 
the gates were swung open, the horses were put to and you resumed 
yt,ur voyage. 

As the Medford turnpike had been chartered and 
built, the Branch canal proprietors were required to con- 
struct and maintain the requisite bridge at their crossing 
It could not be over four and one-half feet above the 
water, and the approach to it steeper than five inches in 
one rod. 

A meeting of the Turnpike Corporation was held 
to make remonstrance against the canal charter and a 
committee appointed to " compromise," then another 

to attend the General Court and take means to prevent the said 
canal's passage through the turnpike, but not to appear with 

As Benjamin Hall was a prominent shareholder and 
corporator in all three enterprises, the above seems a 
little strange, but perhaps it was only a show of resist- 
ance. The turnpike records contain but two other allu- 
sions to the canal : 

July 6, 1807. Voted to allow Peter Tufts, 'Junior' account 
$7.50 for surveying bason of canal 

Feb 10 1834 Voted That the Proprietors of the Medford Branch 
Canal & Locks be notified to remove the piece of timber from off 
the top of the bridge over the said canal in the middle of the said 
turnpike road, it being an inconvenience and an obstruction to the 
public travel on said turnpike road ; also to make their bridge wider 
and repair the causeway on each side thereof according to law. 

Abner Bartlett, esquire, was then the clerk and his 
entry is followed by 

Seved a copy on Mr Stearns 

The piece of timber was evidently for the purpose of 
keeping passage to the right in either direction, and as 



this is the only allusion during the years, we may pre- 
sume that the relations of each corporation were gener- 
ally pleasant. Eighteen years later (1852), this canal 
ceased operation, but the turnpike continued a few years 
longer, only to succumb to the inevitable. Nothing ro- 
mantic about it, purely utilitarian was the Medford 
branch canal. 


Such was the name of a certain business concern in 
old Medford, long since forgotten. In response to one 
of several queries in notice of April meeting, some pap- 
ers from the Society's archives were exhibited, and re- 
marks made by various members that made the hour 
one of much interest. 

The historian of Medford (in 1855) said 

The strong tendency among us for consociated action makes it 
easy to form societies for special objects. Medford has its full share. 

He, however, devoted less than a page to but two — 
the Sons of Temperance and the Masonic Lodge — and 
finished his section with a half page relative to the 
above Saltmarsh Corporation, which was purely a busi- 
ness affair, and not a fraternal or social improvement. 

Probably his brief mention of this enterprise is the 
only one extant in public print, and for such reason the 
Register now adds a little to details of Medford affairs 
in days long gone. Our authority is the Massachusetts 
Archives and papers above named. On February 9, 
1803, eight Medford men, Richard Hall, Benj. Hall, Jr., 
Nathaniel Hall, Joshua Simonds, Duncan Ingraham, 
Ebenezer Tufts, Benjamin Tufts, Jr., and Andrew Hall, 
who were then " Proprietors of a certain tract of Salt 
Marsh situated in the easterly part of Medford at Labor- 
in-vain, so-called, bounded southerly by Mistic river, 
easterly by Maiden lines, and otherwise by lands of Hall, 
Wheelwright and Holt Jun r ." asked incorporation by 
the General Court, saying 


That said Salt Marsh is exposed to, and greatly injured by depre- 
dations from Cattle belonging to other persons — so that it cannot 
in the present situation be improved to the best advantage. There- 
fore they pray this Honorable Court to incorporate them into a 
Society by the name of the Proprietors of Salt Mars in the easterly 
part of Medford with all the Legal Rights & Authorities by such 
Corporate bodies enjoyed — So that they may pursue such Regular 
method, by which they can enjoy the benefits of their Estate 

The petition was favorably reported upon, concurred 
in by the senate. The act was passed on June 15, 1803. 

Its second section specifies the manner of calling 
meetings; by warrant of Justice of the Peace " posted up 
at house of worship in Medford ten days at least before " 
date of meeting. If any proprietor lived elsewhere, his 
house of worship was thus decorated. The officers were 
" a clerk, committees, assessor, collector and a treasurer," 
with powers as similar town officers had. They could 
build and maintain a dyke of sufficient height and 
width, and a fence where each was needed, assessing the 
cost upon each proprietor. If such assessment was not 
paid within sixty days, enough of the delinquent's hold- 
ing could be sold after three weeks' advertising by post- 
ing at house of worship. Their petition shows clearly 
that their marshland was at the extreme corner of the 
original Cradock farm. Since then Medford has ex- 
panded by the annexation of a strip of Maiden territory, 
and, within our memory, of another farther on from 
Everett, which was also formerly of Maiden, both of 
which form the present Wellington district. At the 
Mystic river end of that old boundary, be it remembered, 
was the "brick landing place" in 1803. The other end 
must have been where, on Maiden line, the marsh and 
upland joined. Just now a glance at Walling's map of 
Medford (1855) is interesting. It shows the names of 
some twenty owners of marsh land below Labor-in-vain, 
among which are a few of those corporators of fifty years 
before. A look from the windows of the Fellsway car as 
it rapidly passes the spot today is equally so, revealing 


the remains of the dyke — the fence is long since gone — 
and the " stump marsh" or "pine swamp," unique in 
character and unlike any other. 

Historian Brooks records that Medford's tax upon 
this corporation in 1822 was $156.27. We have been 
curious to know why in 1855 he made selection of 1822 
to note, also why he listed this business concern among 
fraternal " societies." At this juncture, we turn to papers 
in the Historical Society's possession: 

First: A request signed by six corporators in 182 1, re- 
questing Abner Bartlett, Justice of the Peace, to issue 
his warrant to one of their number, directing him to call 
a meeting of the corporation at the hotel in Medford, on 
Friday, July 27, 182 1, at 3 o'clock p.m. This the squire 
did, directing Benjamin G. Lerned " to notify as the law 

Second : A written notice or warrant, evidently the 
copy the printers used. 

Third : A printed copy of the same, with the name of 
John Bishop in writing, in proper space left therefor. 

Fourth: An unused corporation tax notice (printed). 

Fifth : A written receipt as follows: 

Medford April 2nd 1S22. Received of Mr. B. G. Lerned Col- 
lector of the Salt Marsh in Medford, Corporation Sixty-one Dol- 
lars & eight cents Collected by him for repairs of proprietors fence. 


Treas. of said corporation. 

A perusal of these documents is of interest, and the 
query naturally arises, was that meeting at the hotel in 
182 1 the first held by the corporators? If it was, we 
must conclude that they were slow in their matters to 
have waited eighteen years before getting down to busi- 
ness. But in view of the above receipt, it would appear 
that a fence had been erected long enough before as to 
require repairs, so it is more than probable that they 
organized at once, and by some neglect or informality 
had allowed a lapse, and so required the warrant of 
Squire Bartlett to set the company a-going again. Here 


our " documentary evidence " relative to the Saltmarsh 
Corporation ends. We will add, however, that the long 
name they styled themselves by in the petition was in 
the " Act " reduced to our caption ; and the words " into 
a Society " have a pen line drawn through them in the 
original, in the Archives. Possibly this is a clue to the 
historian's classification. And so, with the purpose of 
learning more of its purpose, we ask, "What do you 
know about salt hay?" 

The foregoing was in substance stated by the librarian, 
who exhibited the papers in evidence. Mr. Hooper fol- 
lowed, in interesting remarks upon the location of the 
marshes, their ownership by numerous proprietors, often 
from towns other than Medford, the use and value of the 
product, and how much esteemed by those farmers. He 
had long ago participated in the work in haying time 
himself. The hours of work were governed by the 
moon's changes, and every householder and farmer had 
to consult the "tide table" in the "Farmer's Almanac." 
Much of the grass after cutting had to be " poled off " 
to the higher land for curing. As the marsh was inter- 
sected by ditches for more ready drainage, these were a 
pitfall, especially for the rear man who could not well 
see the way, because of the pile of grass before him, and 
unless warned by the one ahead, would suddenly find 
himself in the hole. Mr. Hooper's description of the 
savage bites of the "green-head " flies was very realistic. 

No one seemed to know what " staddles" were till Mr. 
Hooper explained that some proprietors, especially those 
remote from the solid ground, drove clusters of posts 
into the marsh, leaving the tops about two feet elevated. 
On these the hay was stacked and removed when the 
ground had frozen. Some of the " staddles " can still be 
seen. If horses were used on the marshes, they were 
provided with oak boards about a foot square, which 
were fastened under each hoof by an iron clamp, and 
prevented sinking into the soft marsh mud. The horses 
soon became accustomed to this somewhat clumsy safe- 


guard, and bore off the grass to the main, where it was 
made up into great loads for the homeward journey. Mr. 
Hooper gave an interesting account of the stump marsh, 
which is nearby and which is the remains of a primeval 
forest sunk into the marsh and preserved by the salt 

Mr. Remele followed by reading an account of the 
salt marshes of Plum Island and bringing of the day's 
harvest home on the "gundelows " that may have resem- 
bled the " lighters " used in early days on the Mystic. 
The reading included an almost tragic tale of two clam- 
diggers, who, caught in a storm, sought refuge in the hay 
stacked on a staddle. Increasing storm and extreme 
tide with floating ice lifted the stack and started it out 
to sea, but fortunately the men were rescued. 

Incidentally it was shown that small areas of salt 
marsh had been utilized as was this as late as in the 
seventies as far up the Mystic as Boston and Harvard 
avenues and on Menotomy river ; and that perhaps the 
first named may have had something to do with the 
present crooked boundary line between Somerville (old 
Charlestown) and Medford, in 1754. 

Many corporations chartered as was this of the Salt 
Ivlarsh were required by the " Acts " to make returns, 
annual or otherwise, to the State, but as no penalty for 
neglect was attached, the rule was often more honored 
in the breach than in the observance. We have found 
no such requirement in this case and no return. When 
or how the corporation dissolved we cannot say. It 
must now be defunct by " mis-feasance or neglect." The 
wide stretch of marsh is still there, the big disused clay 
pits of the brick company on one side, the " stump 
marsh " on the other, while on the knoll has arisen the 
populous village of Wellington, its marshes utilized by 
various " gun clubs," manufactories and " filling stations," 
which last, then unknown, would have been a wonder- 
ment to those old salt marsh proprietors. 

1920.] 35 


It was an easy transition from these latter marshes to 
the consideration of Parson Smith's farm and barn which 
was close by one of them. Mr. Hooper located it by 
his remembrance as near the now disused Cummings 
schoolhouse and present North street. Rev. William 
Smith, the father of Abigail, wife of President John 
Adams, inherited a part of this farm, and at his mother's 
death " bought a farm in Medford." Such is his entry 
in his interleaved almanac, the usual manner of keeping 
a diary in those days. Several of those he kept we have 
examined, and extracts were read in the above connection. 

We find in Nast's Sketch of Weymouth that 

in August 1634 [it should be 1734] a call was extended to Mr. 
William Smith of Charlestown to become the minister at a salary 
of one hundred and sixty pounds and three hundred pounds settle- 
ment, the latter to be paid one hundred pounds annually for three 
years, all in bills of credit. This invitation was accepted, and on 
the first Wednesday in December [1734] he was ordained as pastor 
of the First Church and Parish in Weymouth, which office he re- 
tained until his death, Sep 17, 1783, in his seventy-seventh year. 
He was a graduate of Harvard in 1725. 

In reading of Charles town it is well to remember that 
at one time Charlestown entirely surrounded Medford, 
and that in 1754 Medford acquired considerable of 
Charlestown territory in two parcels. 

This Rev. William Smith (who until his ordination 
was Mister William) was the son of Thomas and Abigail 
(Fowle) Smith. Thomas Smith was styled " merchant " 
and had a farm of eighty acres (and house), bounded 
north by Mystic river, south and southwest by J. Dick- 
son, and east by James Tufts and C. Crosswell. It was 
situated, as will be thus seen, at the bend of the river and 
at the end of the old rangeway, now North street. In the 
division of the estate, nineteen and three-quarters acres 
fell to the son William, which he seems to have improved 
by fencing, building a barn and planting an orchard. 



Relative to this, we reproduce portions of his diary 
above alluded to: 

173S. Apr. 7 bought of Joseph Porter one hundred and a half of 
Rails 2/5 PC. £3.7.6 
Bought 130 Posts of Chads £5.5.0 
Bought of Deacon Waterman 40 Rails £1.10.6. 
Bought of Ebenezer Porter 100 Rails 
Paid Mr. Willis for Boating up — Rails and posts £1. 
Bought of Mr. Austin a Jack 3.10. 

1739 January 2. Went to Charlestovvn Re[turne]d 10 
8 I p[reache]d at Charlestown all day 
Paid David an Indian the sum of £5. for stone wall 
April 15 I p[reache]d 

April 13 and 16 grafted in my Orchard and in the Parson- 
age land abt So Grafts Paid Primus £o.S 
April 25 Went to Boston 

27 Planted 60 Apple Trees at my Farm to South of 
y e house 

1 75 1. June 14 Reed of Mr. Goodwin a Chaise which cost abt. 
£202 old tenor 

1 759 Tickets in Boston pier lottery 5 class. No. 1309 

1763 June 20 Bought a Farm at Medford cost £1200. 

P d [prayed] to Paul Torrey in his Distress 

23 Paul Torrey died 30 at Medford 

Aug iS At Medford — Measured my Farm 

There is good reason to believe that the farm he 
purchased in Medford was the "widow's dower," i.e., the 
portion held by his mother until her decease, which was 
then (1763) by the set off of 1754 within (and now) in 
Medford bounds. On a separate leaf, carefully pinned 
into the back of the almanac, is 

The Expenses of my Farm Barn erected 6th of June 1 75 1 
To 3 thousand of Board nails at ^\ £ 8. 5.0 

11 thousand and half of shingle nails, 10 thousand at 

24. thousand and half at 25 13. 17.6 

half a thousand of Double tens 2/5 2. 5.0 

Cash for 2 thousand of Boards 27 


Cash for 2 thousand of Boards 30 

Cash for the Frame 95. 0.0 

Boating it 5. 0.0 

Boating Shingles at 20. p r M. 12 Thousand 1. 4.0 

1920.] PARSON SMITH' S FARM. 37 

13 thousand of hemlock shingles or spruce at £3 p m. 36. 0.0 

flip 0.14-0 

Veal 24/ 1.4.0 

3 Gallons of Rum at iS p. G. 2.14.0 

Mr Teel paid 2>- l S'° 

Mr Eustice 0.25.0 

Mr Oakes 5.0.0 

Mr Bicknel and Loud for finishing 30.0.0 

Mr Teel for Board & c 16.1.0 


My Barn cost me 279.14.6 

My Chaise Cost 202.0.0 


On the June interleaf are these entries: 

June 2 I p[reache]d 
,, 6 Raised my Barn at Charlestown at my farm Abt noon 
finished. Mr Bicknel worked abt 2 days Mr Humphry abt 
5. Mr Loud Son and Bicknel abt 6 

These old diaries of the Weymouth pastor, who was 
born and came to manhood in our vicinity, and who re- 
tained a property interest here during his long lifetime 
are certainly interesting. For instance, note "boating," 
which shows that the river was a highway in earlier 
days. We read that when a Medford minister [1847] 
moved away from the pillared house on South street he 
did so by a vessel that came up to the wharf before his 
house. Probably the last such boating was in 1874, 
when lumber for three houses now standing on Boston 
avenue was brought from East Boston up the river and 
unloaded at Auburn street (of this we speak from per- 
sonal observation). Again note, " David an Indian," his 
stonelayer, and " Primus," evidently a free negro. Note 
that the parson spent a week at his farm in January, 
! 739 — go m g on Monday, preaching on Sunday in the 
meeting house on the hill in Charlestown (four miles 
from his farm) on Sunday, the 8th, and returning to 
Weymouth on the following Tuesday. No steam or 
electric cars then, and little wonder he needed a new 
chaise in 175 1, that cost almost as much as the new 

38 DR. OSGOOD'S HOUSE. [June, 

barn. And this antedated the famous " one horse shay" 
of Dr. Holmes by fourteen years. Friday had no terrors 
for Parson Smith, — he set out an orchard and grafted 
scions on the old trees on that day. They had a merry 
time at the "raising'' of the barn, as note three items 
therefor. Three men had " framed " it in " about " eleven 
days' work, and the " raising " only took the forenoon. 
From the quantity of boards and shingles, the barn was 
about 30 x 40 feet in size. 

The farm originally and when it had become the 
parson's son's, was said to contain "86i acres, exclusive 
of the rangeway and watering place claimed by the town" 
of Charlestown. We have not ascertained the exact 
bounds, but by way of illustration, suppose a tract nearly 
twice that of Boston Common laid down in that corner 
of Medford (and Somerville) between Boston avenue and 
Mystic river, and there was Parson Smith's farm, with 
the house and barn near Cotting and North streets. 
Through it some fifty years later came the Middlesex 
canal, eighty-five later the Lowell railroad, but it took a 
hundred and thirty-three years for Auburn street to 
connect Medford with that old Charlestown farm. We 
of this time have seen the changes wrought along the 
river, and are pleasantly surprised. W T hat might Rev. 
William Smith, " prepossessing and conciliatory, a favor- 
ite, especially among the young, lively and animated as 
a speaker, and through his long ministry of forty-nine 
years highly esteemed and beloved," say, could he come 
by auto or aeroplane to his farm today? 


The Reverend David Osgood had been minister of 
the church in Medford twelve years, when he married, 
November 1, 1786, Hannah Breed of Charlestown. 

Acting on the old adage of procuring a cage before 
securing the bird, he had erected the substantial dwelling 

1920.] DR. OSGOOD'S HOUSE. 39 

on High street, at the corner of Powder house road, 
that was for the remainder of his life his home, and for 
years after that of his daughters, Mary and Lucy. 

Among his papers was preserved a statement of its 
cost It may be of interest to such as know the relative 
value of " old tenor," as compared with the currency of 
1785, which, by the way, Dr. Osgood expressed in Eng- 
lish money (as this was prior to the adoption of the 
Constitution), to compare this with another in this issue. 
In this, there is nothing of a " raising." Without doubt 
there was one, with abundance of refreshment, both 
solid and liquid. What among the "thousand little ex- 
penses," "stitwork" was, will some one tell? 

By the kindness of Mrs. DeLong, long resident there, 
we have this copy to present : 


The most material expenses in build'g an houfe 2 story in height & 
42 by 34 upon y e ground. 

Land, To set y e houfe upon £100.0.0 

pv fDiging y e cellar afsisting in ston'g^l 

Labour \ & clear 'S &c ' levell 'g y c earth ab'tl 

(j e houfe & c J 16.10.0 

Stone hewed 2 rows in y e front 8.0.0 

Frame of y e houfe 50.0.0 

Boards jMerchant'ble 2l ™ ® 4*/ £ 5o- 8.0 
(Clear St m @7 2 l 19.16.0 


16m. @ 15/ — £12. 

Shingles r ^ 5 — *"" 

to ( 2m @ 12/ — 1.4) 13-4-0 

!im @ £3.18.-0 

i|m@ £4.4.-0 

£m @ 1. 10. Oi 

£m @ 2. 8. o) 12. 0.0 

Laths 13m @ 7/. 4.11.0 

f 3m @ 20/ £ 3. 0.0) 
Bricks^ 23m @ 18/ £20.14.01 

[14m @ 16/ 4. 4.0J 34.18.0 

Lime 14 hhds on an average 31/6 23.0.0 

Brads of all sorts 6 d -5 d -4 d -3' d . Sc c 2.2.0 



40 DR. OSGOOD'S HOUSE. [June, 

ry, # . (Carting bricks, sand, stones, boards ) 

& f& all y e other materials for y c houfe) 16.0.0 

f j$ m -@ 12/ £4-io.o > 

i5 m io d @ 9/ 6.15.0J 

Nails (12™ S d @ 6/6 3.1S.0 

f4S m 4 d @ 3/4 S.o.oj 

7 m 3 d @3/ 1.1.0) £38.6.5 

Painting and y e work at y e eaves 

door heads, window frames & c £2.2.0 

'Stoning y e Cellar £S.$.-6^ 

st Stack Chimnies 16.2.0, 

,, , 12 nd Stack d° pointing ) 
Mason s J . n « V «. ■ I 
Kin w cellar & plastering J- 

4 rooms J 16. 15.4; 

Plastering entry & \ 

1 room ab l 270 yds) 7 -7 of £48.7.4 

Carpenters Finishing y e outfide of y e 
on houfe 5 rooms & y e entry 

Joiners acct & y e fence in front £100.0.0 

Errors excepted £562.8-9 

N.B. Blacksmith's bill not yet bro't in, for iron mantle-trees, 

hinges for great doors, hasps, .fasten'gs & c . 
Also a thoufand little expenses not mentioned above, such as 

sedar posts oak & pine stitwork, feveral loads of slate & 

feveral loads of tile 

It must be also remembered y l y e locks, hinges, ketches 

skrews, bolts, Pullies & lines & weights for y e windows are 

yet to be purchased 

And when these together with all y e other little expenses 

already contracted fhall be added to y e above ac'ct it cannot 

fall much fhort of £600. 

The houfe will be ftill to paint and y c rooms to paper both 

thefe may be estimated at abt. £50. & then £100 more will 

be fcanty to complete y e fence, build y e outhoufes & dig 

y e well. 

After one hundred and thirty-five years, this house, 
now the Unitarian parsonage, still stands in excellent 
condition. Parson Osgood might wonder at, but be de- 
lighted in, the modern improvements now in it In view 
of present conditions and prices, we wonder even more 
what it would cost today. 

1920.J 41 


(With apologies to Hawthorne.) 

Because of recent inquiry, though it seems like " car- 
rying coals to Newcastle " to even try to improve upon 
" The Pump in the Market-place/' so excellently pre- 
sented before the Historical Society by Miss Gill,* we 
call attention to our frontispiece, and quote from Na- 
thaniel Hawthorne's " Rill," a favorite selection, always 
read with interest in our school days. 

In far antiquity, beneath a darksome shadow of venerable boughs, 
a spring bubbled out of the leaf-strewn earth, in the very spot where 
you now behold me on the sunny pavement. The water was as 
bright and clear, and deemed as precious, as liquid diamonds. The 
Indian Sagamores drank of it from time immemorial, till the fear- 
ful deluge of fire-water burst upon the red men, and swept their 
whole race away from the cold fountains. . . . Governor Winthrop 
on his journey afoot from Boston drank here from the hollow of 
his hand. 

And we may claim a similar genesis for the Medford 
town pump, in an "ancient spring" whose existence 
may have been the deciding factor in the location of the 
original u ferme-house " built by Matthew Cradock's " ser- 
vants " near the old Indian trail, through what is Med- 
ford Square today to the river's fording place. And it 
is just as certain that the governor refreshed himself with 
its cool water after crossing the Mistick on his long 
tramp to Salem. 

But we may not follow Hawthorne's pump rill into the 
baptismal water placed on the communion table, for alas ! 
Medford had no meetinghouse then, nor yet for sixty 
years, and when she did, the clear water of Marrabel's 
brook was nearer by. 

But as at Salem, in the lapse of years Medford men 

vanished from the earth as if mortal life were but a flitting image 
in a fountain. Finally the fountain vanished also. Cellars were 
dug on all sides, and cart-loads of gravel flung upon its source, 
whence oozed a turbid stream, forming a mud-puddle at the corner 
*See Register, Vol. XIII, p. 1. 


of two streets. . . . But in course of time, a Town Pump was sunk 
into the ancient spring; and when the first decayed, another took 
its place, and then another, and still another, till here stand I, to 
serve you with my iron goblet. 

The early history of the Medford town pump cannot 
be better told than was its contemporary's of Salem ; yet 
we wonder just a little if Salem ever had a pump like 
that of Medford, shown in our illustration. Had such 
been the case, it might under the pen of the romancer 
have given forth a double "stream of eloquence." Also 
we query, "Was there ever one like it anywhere?" We 
deem it fortunate that the late Francis Wait, himself a 
mechanic of ability, made a description of its operation 
and peculiar features, which our local artist and younger 
Medford boy has preserved for us in our illustration. 

It was probably installed soon after 1812, and after 
serving the thirsty public for an average human lifetime, 
was replaced by another of ordinary style in 1848. Our 
worthy townsman Hooper tells us of the boyish pride he 
felt when he first was able to operate its pendulum 
handle, which alternately lifted the water in the two 
pumps enclosed in the box-like structure, and delivered 
through a single spout as shown It was a man's job to 
operate it and fill the big trough from which the horses 
and cattle drank. We of present day Medford never see 
an ox in our streets; horses are becoming rare. 

What do the generality of Medford children know of 
pumping water? They would be helpless if set down 
thirsty in Medford square as it was a century ago. The 
useful fixture known as the town pump disappeared 
nearly fifty years ago, soon after the introduction of water 
from Spot pond. A great iron vase, by courtesy styled a 
"drinking fountain," took its place. Though it never 
drank nor become drunk and upheld a lantern to illu- 
minate the way for those who did, it proved too fragile 
for its purpose, and soon gave way for one of granite. 
That, after years of use, has disappeared at the sugges- 
tion of the State Board of Health — for sanitary reasons. 


At time of present writing, and for several weeks, 
Medford square has been in a state of upheaval by the 
relaying of railway tracks and street paving. Repeat- 
edly of late, as we have passed down High street, we 
have walked cautiously in or around a stream of water 
pumped by an electric pump from the basement of the 
new building which stands on the sites of the old neigh- 
bors of the old town pump. 

We think it to have been a rill from " the ancient 
spring " of three centuries ago. 


We again take up the subject of Medford myths, re- 
peating a member's statement, that " thus a whole lot of 
fable is taught as history." We recall also, that some 
one has spoken of the " lies of record." Disclaiming that 
" short and ugly word," we will say the one in question is 
the mistake of a contemporary. Sounds better, doesn't it ? 

In a very readable and interesting book, published by 
the town of Arlington (1907) on the occasion of the one 
hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of old Me- 
notomy as West Cambridge, there is a two-page article 
on Menotomy hall, a brick structure which during its 
entire history was occupied in its first story as a bakery, 
and its ovens in use even after the demolition of the 
building had begun. The second contained a hall, used 
by the Odd Fellows, Masons and other societies, fra- 
ternal, religious and otherwise ; and called by the old and 
pleasant sounding name, Menotomy. After telling of 
Us use by the Congregational and Universalist churches, 
the account gives an added touch of romance, thus: 

There the successful Methodist Church of West Medford was 
organized and held meetings for several years. 

We have wondered not a little how this statement 
a ppears to Arlington people, or to careful readers of his- 


tory generally. Why, and especially when there was no 
public conveyance, should Medford people go out of town 
two miles, leaving their own village, to establish a church 
and maintain for " several years " public worship ? 

We answer, They did not ; and this statement is a 
mythical mistake of its writer, who is still unconvinced 
of its fallacy, reiterating the same when attention was 
called thereto. One of the committee of publication 
admits the misstatement, but asks, " What are you going 
to do about it?" In reply we say, we cannot expurgate 
or obliterate the fallacious statement from the entire 
edition of the book, but state in contradiction of it, that 
the church in question has its birth certificate in the 
form of authentic records, written at the identical place 
of its organization, containing the names of the attending 
parties, none of w T hom were of Arlington, much less in 
Menotomy hall on that occasion. This occurred in a 
dwelling, now 83 Sharon street, West Medford, on the 
evening of April 1, 1872.* 

Of those present on that occasion, but two are today 
living, and their testimony accords with the above pre- 
ceding lines. The mythical mistake (and we have no 
thought of its being intentional) could not, nor cannot 
be verified by record. 

The otherwise (so far as we know) excellent history, 
entitled, " Arlington, Past and Present," published 1907, 
donated to the Medford Library by Mrs. Carolin Law- 
rence in 191 2, had not been taken out till within a year 
(as appears from the slip inserted), when it came to our 
notice. Possibly none other has since then. If so, the 
Register is giving the Menotomy mythical mistake more 
publicity, but along with it this refutation. 

" Hie fabula docet" that "if we are to be historical, let 
us tell the truth." 

♦See Register, Vol. XIV, p. 25. 




Discovered in July, 1911, during improvement of Mystic river. The 

location is about 400 feet up stream from Harvard avenue, 

and the river at its lowest stage. 

m ..y-Af 


As entered from the south, upon the Boston road. Printed from the 

original wood block, engraved for and used in Barber's 

Historical Collections of Massachusetts, 1839. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIII. SEPTEMBER, 1920. No. 3. 


The Efforts of the Town of Medford to Prevent the 
Pollution of the Mystic River by Discharge of Sewage 

AFTER the introduction of Spot pond water into 
Medford, the subject of sewerage became upper- 
most in the minds of our citizens. In March, 187 1, 
the subject was referred to the selectmen, and they were 
authorized to employ an experienced engineer to plan a 
thorough system of sewerage throughout the whole 
town, and to make a survey and outline map showing 
the principal drains and trunk conduits. In accordance 
with this vote the selectmen employed Mr. Clemens 
Herschel, who made a study of the problem, with plans 
and map as instructed. Mr. Herschel's report was sub- 
mitted to the town at the November meeting in 1872, 
and in June, 1873, tne selectmen were instructed to re- 
port a system for the apportionment of cost upon abut- 
tors and upon the town, action upon which was indefi- 
nitely postponed when report was submitted to the town. 
This latter action was taken because our citizens had 
become convinced that the enterprise was too costly for 
the town to undertake single-handed, inasmuch as it was 
strongly opposed to the discharge of sewage into the 
Mystic river. In February, 1874, the board of health 
reported to the town as follows, viz.: 

We desire to call the attention of the town to the fact that the 
City of Cambridge is using the waters of Alewife brook, one of 
the tributaries of Mystic river, as a receptacle for a portion of its 
sewage, and that the Engineers appointed by the City of Boston to 
examine into the water supply of the city have suggested the 
drainage of the towns of Woburn and Winchester into the river 



that a portion of the sewage of Cbarlestown now finds its way into 
the Mystic river, and that the towns of Maiden and Everett may 
one day use the river for a similar purpose, and we therefore urge 
upon the town the importance of resisting by every means in its 
power any attempt on the part of the neighboring cities and towns 
to contaminate the w r ater of the river by making it a receptacle for 
sewage matter. 

This was referred to the selectmen, with instructions 
as suggested by the report. These were acted upon 
none too soon; for the city of Cambridge had already 
petitioned the General Court for an act authorizing the 
use of Ale wife brook as a sewer and for liberty to erect 
tide-gates to prevent the incoming tide from backing 
up the sewage into Fresh pond, its water supply. At a 
hearing before the Legislative Committee of Water 
Supply and Drainage, to whom the petition was referred, 
the selectmen opposed the granting of the petition upon 
the ground that such use would contaminate the water 
of the river, to the prejudice of the health of the citizens 
of Medford. Counsel for Cambridge stated to the com- 
mittee that he had not anticipated any opposition to the 
petition, and invited them to view the premises and ex- 
amine the conditions therein. The committee accepted 
the invitation,and joined by the Medford committee, made 
investigation. It concluded that the subject demanded 
favorable action, but agreed to insert a section in the 
bill to safeguard the interests of the town of Medford, 
viz., Section 2 of Chapter 193 of the Acts of 1874. The 
Broadway tide-gates were erected near the Broadway 
bridge over Alewife brook. They were constructed by 
the city of Cambridge (by an agreement with the town 
of Arlington) in 1875, an ^ were in use up .to the time of 
the completion of the Metropolitan sewer in 1897. 
* The town of Medford never experienced any discom- 
fort from the sewage from Alewife brook. All the in- 
soluble portions were deposited in the tortuous channel 
of the brook and they created a nuisance therein. That, 
together with the unsanitary conditions prevailing in 
part of the cities of Cambridge and Somerville and the 


towns of Arlington and Belmont, was the principal cause 
of the erection of the Cradock dam in Medford center. 

In the year 1861 the city of Charlestown obtained an 
act of the General Court authorizing it to take the 
upper Mystic pond as a water supply, and when that 
city was annexed to the city of Boston, the pond became 
a part of Boston's water supply. For many years both 
before and after Boston assumed control of the pond, 
many complaints were made in regard to the impurity 
of the water. Situated upon the Aberjona river and its 
tributaries were many tanneries and other works whose 
drainage found its way into that river and thence into 
the pond. This condition of things became so unbear- 
able that some action had to be taken to remedy the 
evil, or else abandon the pond as a water supply. 

In the year 1875 the mayor of Boston petitioned the 
General Court for an act authorizing that city to con- 
struct a sewer to prevent such drainage from entering its 
water supply. In this petition the mayor was joined by 
the selectmen of Woburn and Medford. The selectmen 
of Winchester declined to take any action. The town 
of Medford voted to instruct the selectmen to employ 
counsel and oppose the turning of any sewage into 
Mystic river within the limits of the town and to favor a 
system of sewerage being laid through the town, to dis- 
charge at Chelsea (now Revere) beach. At the hearing 
it was found that neither the city of Boston nor the town 
of Woburn had any idea of joining in the construction 
of such a sewer. 

Boston presented a plan to discharge the sewage into 
Mystic river at or near Boston avenue bridge, and to 
erect a dam with tide-gates across the river just above 
Alewife brook, so as to form a reservoir for the scouring 
of the river at low water. This plan, so prejudicial to 
Medford's interests, was so strenuously opposed by the 
Medford committee that the Boston officials presented 
a n alternate plan to discharge into the lower Mystic 
pond. This new plan was also opposed by the Medford 


committee, for it was certain that in a short time a nui- 
sance would be created in the pond ;* but finding that it 
must choose between the two plans, it chose what it con- 
sidered the lesser evil — to discharge into the pond, the 
view of the Legislative committee being that the public 
health of Charlestown and other places, users of the 
water, far outbalanced the fears of Medford in regard to 
the creating of a nuisance in Mystic river. A bill was 
reported, authorizing the city of Boston to construct a 
sewer to discharge into the lower pond, with a section 
designed to protect the interest of the towns of Arling- 
ton and Medford. 

Chapter 202, of the Acts of 1875. 

act to authorize the city of boston to construct a sewer 
in the mystic valley 

Section 1. The City of Boston is hereby authorized for the 
purpose of protecting the purity and remedying the pollution of 
water supplied from Mystic Pond, so called, by virtue of Acts of 
1S61 and acts additional and of amendment thereof, to construct 
for that purpose a main sewer . . . and branches ... on 
the easterly side of the ponds and streams which discharge into 
them. Commencing in the town of Woburn . . . through Win- 
chester into the town of Medford and emptying into the lower 
Mystic pond at some convenient point near the upper end thereof 
said city is authorized to extend or divert into said sewer any streams 
or water-courses, whether natural or artificial, flowing directly or 
indirectly into Mystic Pond or its headwaters, or into any stream or 
pond connecting with or discharging into said Mystic Pond, which 
contains any source of pollution. 

The other sections of the act are of no interest to this 
paper, except Section 12, which is as follows, viz.: 

This Act shall not be construed to grant an interminable right 
to discharge sewage into Mystic lower Pond, but the Legislature 
may, from time to time, by law, regulate and determine the dispo- 
sition to be made of such sewage for the purpose of protecting the 
public health, and especially that of the inhabitants of Arlington 

*There are two ponds with originally a natural dam or "partings" be- 
tween them ; the tide flowed into the lower pond, the upper pond being at a 
higher level was not affected by the tide. It was at this "partings" that 
the water works dam was built. (See Register, Vol. XX, p. 20.) 



and Medford, and preventing the existence of a nuisance, anything 
to the contrary in this act notwithstanding. 

The sewer was constructed and was in use until the 
winter of 18S0-81 before any particular discomfort from 
its use was sustained by the inhabitants of Medford ; but 
one morning the whole town (especially the westerly 
part thereof) was aroused by a stench that almost took 
away one's breath. The officials of the town, who were 
watching the result of such a discharge of sewage mat- 
ter into the pond, suspected at once the cause of the 
trouble and proceeded to investigate. On arriving at 
the outlet of the pond, they found a filthy stream of 
water flowing from the pond that emitted an intolerable 
stench. Proceeding down stream, they found fish dead 
and dying on the river banks, where they had been left 
by the ebb tide. The eels, more fortunate (?), were able 
to crawl out of the water and thus escape the filth, only 
to fall into the baskets of some enterprising fishermen 
who were gathering them in. The nouses along the 
bank of the river were discolored by the gases that 
arose from the filthy water. One house in particular 
was noted, that of one of our citizens of German birth. 
His account of the situation was quite amusing; he said, 
44 My little boy went out this morning and soon came 
running back into the house crying out, 'mein Gott, 
fader, just come out and look at our house.' " The house, 
of immaculate whiteness the night before, was now of a 
dirty, dingy color. After viewing the effect of the dis- 
charge of the filthy water into the river, they proceeded 
to investigate the cause of the sudden appearance of the 
nuisance. They found the pond covered by a thick 
coating of ice, which prevented the aeration of the water. 
This, accompanied by an extreme high course of the 
tide, which backed up the salt water into the pond, caused 
the ebb tide to carry with it a large amount of filthy 
water into the river. 

The board of health endeavored to remedy the trouble 
by breaking up the ice with dynamite, but it afforded 


little or no relief, as the mischief had already been done. 
A succession of high tides Mowing into the pond, with 
the scouring effect of the ebb, soon tended to make the 
situation more tolerable. 

The mayor of Boston and its water board were noti- 
fied of the trouble, and accompanied by the Medford 
officials, visited the pond. They first made an examina- 
tion of the water at the outlet of the pond. While they 
were so engaged, some Medford citizens were assem- 
bled near Wear bridge, together with some of the em- 
ployees of the Boston Water Board, and there was some 
discussion in regard to Boston's responsibility for the 
situation. One of the latter said, "And what dots your 
little town expect to do with the great city of Boston ? " 
A most unfortunate remark for Boston's interests, for the 
Medford people quoted the remark on every possible 
occasion when the subject was before the General Court. 
From the outlet of the pond the company proceeded to 
its upper end, where the sewer pipe entered the pond. 
An examination there left no doubt in the mind of any 
as to the cause of the nuisance. The selectmen of Med- 
ford immediately petitioned the General Court for the 
remedy that Section 12 of the Act of 1875 was intended 
to afford. The petition was referred to the Committee 
on Water Supply and Drainage, and the city of Boston, 
through its trained attorneys, opposed all efforts to com- 
pel that city to abate the nuisance. The following bill 
was reported and was fought in both branches of the 
Legislature by Boston's representatives until its final 
passage : 


The City of Boston is hereby directed to cease emptying" sewage, 
or waters or substances containing polluting matter or properties, 
into Mystic Lower Pond, through its sewer constructed under 
Chapter 202 of the Acts of 1875, or otherwise; and is hereby also 
directed to take up and remove so much of said sewer as extends 
into said pond; and also that part thereof, between said pond and 
a point on a line of said sewer, at least two hundred feet from said 
pond, within three months from the passage of this Act; and there- 


after no person or corporation (municipal or other) shall discharge 
or divert into said pond, any sewage or offensive matter, waters or 
substances containing such properties or of such quality, as shall of 
themselves, or in connection with other matter, create a nuisance 
in Mystic Lower Pond, or endanger public health; but nothing 
herein shall be construed to prohibit the City of Boston's discharg- 
ing such water as shall be collected in its said sewer into Mystic 
Lower Pond, after said City shall have purified, cleansed and freed 
the said waters from all offensive, contaminating, noxious and pol- 
luting properties, and substances, so that the waters shall not of 
themselves or in connection with other matter, create a nuisance 
therein or endanger the public health : provided that such waters 
so purified shall flow for a distance of at least two hundred feet im- 
mediately before their entrance into said pond, in an open drain, 
over a gravelly or sandy bottom. 

The City of Boston shall cause said pond to be cleaned of such 
impurities prejudicial to the public health, as in the judgment of 
the State Board of Health Lunacy and Charity, it shall have caused 
. . . and should the said Board deem the same to be necessary and 
so decide, the City of Boston may erect a dam at the outlet of the 
Mystic Lower Pond, and exclude the tide water from said pond, 
and may raise the height of the water in said pond and may take 
land therefor. 

Section three provided for the taking of land in Wo- 
burn and Winchester. Directly after the passage of this 
act, the chairman of the state board of health visited the 
pond to view the premises in order to obtain informa- 
tion in regard to the condition of matters that were re- 
ferred to the board by section two of the act. He was 
accompanied by the Boston water board and the select- 
men of Medford. After viewing the condition of things 
at the upper end of the pond, the company proceeded to 
the lower end. On the way down along the shore of the 
pond, the chairman of the state board, who was in com- 
pany with one of the selectmen of Medford, asked what 
was Medford's position in regard to section two of the 
act, and was told that so far as the cleansing of the pond 
was concerned, it was deemed impossible to accomplish 
much in that direction, but Medford strongly protested 
against turning the pond into a cesspool, and preferred to 



allow the tide to flow in and out, deeming that to be suf- 
ficient if the city of Boston carried out in good faith the 
provision of the act in regard to the purification of the 
sewage matter. The chairman agreed such to be a sen- 
sible view of the subject, and we heard no more in regard 
to section two of the act. 

While the act was before the committee an effort was 
made by some of Winchester's citizens advocating the 
establishment of the filter bed in Medford's territory, but 
the committee agreed that as no part of the sew r age came 
from Medford that the filter beds should not be located 
there, and they were located beside the railroad just be- 
yond the town line in Winchester, and set in operation 
after a time. 

The employees of the city of Boston who had charge 
of the operation of these filter beds allowed a consider- 
able amount of the sewage matter to flow into the pond 
without being purified. At a hearing before a legisla- 
tive committee, the selectmen having complained were 
requested to furnish a sample of what was claimed to be 
unpurified sewage, to be presented to the committee at 
a subsequent meeting. Accordingly a sample was taken 
from the mouth of the sewer where it fell into the "open 
ditch." As several days elapsed before the committee 
met again, the sample had a good chance to ripen before 
its presentation. An examination of the same proved 
without any question that it had never passed through the 
filter beds. 

Another instance of the neglect to purify the sewage 
was shown at a visit of the mayor and city engineer of 
Boston with the selectmen of Medford. While viewing 
the situation at the lower end of the upper pond the 
* employees of the water board de?iied that any sewage was 
allowed to enter the pond without passing through the 
filter beds, saying that " engines pumping sewage into 
the filter beds were running night and day." When it 
was proposed to visit the filter beds at the upper end of 
the pond, these employees took a team and drove rapidly 


away toward the pumping station. Suspecting that they 
were going to start up the pumping engine, some of 
Medford's people started in pursuit and arrived at the 
station before the engine could be started up. 

After the arrival of the party, which had walked to the 
pumping station, the mayor was informed of the action 
of the employees. He was asked if it was his intent 
that all the sewage should be passed through the filter 
beds, and he answered " yes." Then said one of the 
selectmen of Medford, " Stop up the sewer so that no 
unpurified sewage will pass into the pond, and thus 
compel all the sewage to be pumped into the filter beds." 
Turning to the city engineer, the mayor said, " How 

would that do, Mr. ? " " It would not do at all," was 

the answer. The mayor made no reply. 

The city of Boston never did, and never intended to 
purify all the sewage before discharging it into the pond. 
The condition of matters was never satisfactory to 
Medford people until the completion of the Metropolitan 
system of sewerage. After the Metropolitan Water 
Board was established, Mystic pond was abandoned as a 
water supply. 



Without doubt Medford people were served by the 
Broughton " corne-mill "across the river above " Menoto- 
mie brooke," but that was not in Medford territory. If 
the statement of our historian is correct, the Wade mill 
on Marble brook was the first. He says of it, " This was 
used for grinding grain and sawing timber." But no 
mention of it as a gristmill is found in the settlement 
of the Wade estate, which speaks of " saw-mill pond" and 
u the sawmill." (This in 1689.) Writing in 1855, he 
also said of another : 

There was a mill a short distance below Wear bridge, but who 
built it, or how long it stood, we have not been able to discover. 
The place is yet occupied. 


He quoted from Medford records the favorable action of 
the town about gristmills in two places, and added of the 

This was not successful, nor was the following, . . . 

We ask, was Mr. Brooks correct in these statements ? 
and reply that he was regarding "one just below Wear 
bridge," and wish he had told more of the occupation of 
'55. On what he based his statement "not successful," 
we must remain ignorant. To our certain knowledge 
all vestige of any such structure had vanished prior to 
1870. Possibly one of those incendiary fires so com- 
mon in the sixties may have removed it. 

In the Register, Vol. XVII, pp. 15 and 42, are arti- 
cles relative to this matter, in which interest is revived 
by examination of original documents in the Massachu- 
setts Archives, of which the following is copy: 

To the Hon ble Lt. Governer & Council & Representatives in Gen 1 
Court Afsembled 

The Humble petition of the Inhabitants of the Towne of Medford 

That Whereas Your Petition" 55 have hitherunto been necefsitated 
for want of a Grist mill within the s d Towne to carry their Corne 
to be ground as far as Charlestowne or Watertowne and sometimes 
to Boston and Noddles Island, Whereby many times before they can 
get their meal home, it costs them as much as the Corne was worth. 
And Whereas there is a very Suitable place upon the River A little 
above Mistick Bridge where A Mill may be Erected to the Eas* of 
your Petition"* And Advantage And Convenience of places Ad- 
jacent And without damage to the Passage of Boats Timber 
Rafts & c 

Wherefore yo r most humble Petition" 2 Pray this Hon ble Court to to 
grant them the Privilege of Setting up A Mill on the River in the 
Place Aforef d And that an Act may be Accordingly made Author- 
izing and Impowering them so to do and Your Petition ers shall as in 
duty bound forever pray & c 
Medford May 30 169S. 

In the name of & by the order of the selectmen 

Stephen Willis Towne Clerk 

By examination of Medford records we find Mr. Brooks' 
quotation practically correct, under date of May 30, 1698. 



At a meeting of the frehders and other inhabitents of Med- 
ford legally convened put to vote whether the Inhabitents of 
Medford will petition the Generall Court for liberty to build a 
gristmill on the River near & above Mistick bridge 

voted in the affirmative 

It appears that no time was lost in the presentation of 
Medford's petition (which was written in another hand 
than that of the town clerk, Stephen Willis, who wrote 
the line of certification preceding his signature), as it is 
endorsed "June 3 d 1698. Read in the House of Repre- 
sentatives and Commited." It is somewhat interesting 
to follow this petition in its course through the regular 
routine. Another document also accompanies it, in 
which "much can be read between the lines." 

Boston June 8 169S 
Some Queryes with Refference to a Petition presented to the 
Great and Gen 1 Afsembly by the Selectmen of Medford for Liberty 
of Erecting - a corn mill on Miftick River near the Bridg, wc h Petition 
is Sayd to be already granted by the House of Representatives 

1 Whether the granting said Petition will not prove of considerable 
damage to the Proprietors of the woodlands, lieing in that part of 
the Country, in having such an Obstruction put to about two miles 
of the Navigable part of s d River which the Setting down of s d 
Mill muft needs be notwithstanding the methodes by them pro- 
posed for letting boats to pafs 

2 Whether the free pafsage of the fish in s d River (w ch hath been 
agreatbeneffit to the Inhabitants) will not be thereby incommoded 

3 Whether the capacity w ch s d River lies under of being made nav- 
igable for severall miles further than now it is (w ch might be im- 
proved to considerable advantage) will not be thereby hindered. 

4 Whether it be consistent with Equity to cut off the capacity of a 
mill from the present proprietor of the place of the old mill 
where the respective owners have served that part of the country 
with their Estates in a Mill where they Improved s d streem for 
about thirty or forty years together 

unto w ch queryes sundry arguments might be offered if time were 
given and leave thereto allowed 

The w ch is offered to consideration 

per Joseph Prout. 

There is still another, much smaller in size and closely 
written, in which Mr. Prout's "queryes" are answered 


and disposed of. After the above petition was folded it 
was endorsed on the back 

In Council June 28, 1698. Respited until the next Session 

The General Court then, and for many years, met in 
two sessions each year, and the Council's action deferred 
action and gave time for the consideration of Mr. Prout's 
side of the matter. 

At the next session favorable action was taken as 
follows : 

Dec 26. 1698 Resolved That the petitioners be allowed what 
they herein pray for provided that they agree with the parties that 
own the land on either side the s d River where the Mill is to stand 
and that they do not hinder the passage of Boats Timber Rafts & c 
and that it doth not interfere with any former Grant or right to ye 
s d stream 

Sent up for concurrence Natha 1 Byfield Speaker. 

The reader will do well to consider that in 1698 Med- 
ford was, though seventy years from its first settlement, 
but an insignificant place, and had grown but little. 
Only two bridges gave passage across the river in its en- 
tire length, but they were sufficient for all needs. With 
a " cornemill " on the Menotomy side, what was the need 
of another a quarter mile up stream on the Medford side 
of the river? And why was it a matter of town or 
public action, instead of private enterprise as were those 
of Broughton and Wade. Twenty-three years before, a 
verdict had been given against the former in favor of 
Symmes, whose meadows above Mistick ponds were 
flooded. Yet Prout, who was then (in 1698) proprietor, 
declared " thirty or forty years " of use, which covered 
nearly the time since Broughton began. 

We find no evidence that Broughton sought legisla- 
tive action for " liberty to build a gristmill," and perhaps 
his experience led to Medford 's as above stated, in order 
to be safe from the consequences of resultant damage. 

A comparison of the vote in the Medford record with 
the petition in the Archives is interesting: " Near and 



above Mistick bridge," says the former ; U A very suitable 
place ... a little above Mistick bridge," the latter. 

There can be no question of its being above, or up- 
stream from the bridge; but to our present sight, a mile 
and a half does not seem " near," or " a little above." In 
view of this we are led to ask, What did the term " Mis- 
tick bridge " mean in this particular case? The bridge 
below the ford we know had been called at first Mistick 
bridge, but later had gotten the name of " Great bridge." 
This suggests another query, Why Great bridge, if it was 
the only bridge across the Mystic ? Might not the 
Cradock, or Great bridge, have acquired such name in 
comparison with the second bridge at the Broughton 
mill? If so, that might have been appropriately called 
Mistick bridge, and the " suitable place where a mill may 
be erected " would lie a little above it, and tally exactly 
with Mr. Brooks' " short distance below Wear bridge " (or 
rather the location of Wear bridge), to which travel was 
diverted ten years after the petition for this mill was 

We have shown that favorable action was taken and 
"liberty to build a grist mill " given. W 7 as it built, and 
just where was the suitable place ? In reply we say yes, 
it was, and at about midway between present Harvard 
and Fairfield avenues, West Medford, and submit in evi- 
dence our frontispiece, which is a reproduction of our 
photograph taken on July 15, 191 1. 

Referring to Vol. XVII, p. 15 (where a description 
and occasion of discovery is related), we are confident 
that the old oak frame, brought to light in 191 1, was none 
other than that of Medford's first gristmill, erected soon 
after 1698. 

The map or plan of Charlestown " Linefeilde" (across 
the river), one of the oldest known, shows two islands 
near the Medford side at this spot, which certainly was 
"a suitable place." In 1865 tne United States engineers 
made an elaborate survey of the entire river and Mystic 
lower pond, with purpose of making the latter a fresh 


above Mistick bridge," says the former; "A very suitable 
place ... a little above Mistick bridge," the latter. 

There can be no question of its being above, or up- 
stream from the bridge; but to our present sight, a mile 
and a half does not seem " near," or il a little above." In 
view of this we are led to ask, What did the term " Mis- 
tick bridge " mean in this particular case? The bridge 
below the ford we know had been called at first Mistick 
bridge, but later had gotten the name of " Great bridge." 
This suggests another query, Why Great bridge, if it was 
the only bridge across the Mystic ? Might not the 
Cradock, or Great bridge, have acquired such name in 
comparison with the second bridge at the Broughton 
mill? If so, that might have been appropriately called 
Mistick bridge, and the " suitable place where a mill may 
be erected " would lie a little above it, and tally exactly 
with Mr. Brooks' " short distance below Wear bridge " (or 
rather the location of Wear bridge), to which travel was 
diverted ten years after the petition for this mill was 

We have shown that favorable action was taken and 
"liberty to build a grist mill " given. Was it built, and 
just where was the suitable place ? In reply we say yes, 
it was, and at about midway between present Harvard 
and Fairfield avenues, West Medford, and submit in evi- 
dence our frontispiece, which is a reproduction of our 
photograph taken on July 15, 191 1. 

Referring to Vol. XVII, p. 15 (where a description 
and occasion of discovery is related), we are confident 
that the old oak frame, brought to light in 191 1, was none 
other than that of Medford's first gristmill, erected soon 
after 1698. 

The map or plan of Charlestown " Linefeilde" (across 
the river), one of the oldest known, shows two islands 
near the Medford side at this spot, which certainly was 
"a suitable place." In 1865 the United States engineers 
made an elaborate survey of the entire river and Mystic 
lower pond, with purpose of making the latter a fresh 





water basin for the use of the navy. That plan (a copy 
of which is at the State House), shows an island in line 
with the Medford side, with the river curving inland 
around it. We think that this carefully made map, on 
which the various depths of water are given, showing an 
island at the very place where the old frame was found, 
to be excellent testimony as to " suitable place," and the 
remains unearthed, a refutation of its being unsuccessful. 
Its unearthing was a rare instance of the lost handiwork 
of Medford men of two hundred years agone coming to 
view. It was a serious matter for the housewife to get 
out of meal (i. e. breakfast food) in 1698, and it was a 
long journey to Noddle's island gristmill. Neither 
was there the little store around the corner, to which 
Tommy could be sent for shredded wheat and a bottle 
of milk in such emergency. There were but few people 
in Medford then, even after sixty years, but with meal 
costing them double price, a gristmill near home was a 
prime necessity. To our modern ideas and experiences, 
this old Medford gristmill would be insignificant and its 
output crude, but at that time it must have been a de- 
cided improvement and a waymark of progress. It 
served its purpose, disappeared, and was utterly lost and 
forgotten until after two centuries, when in the march 
of improvement its remains were exhumed and aroused 
inquiry ; now, nine years later, those original .papers in 
the case are " documentary evidence." 

Since the electrification of street railroads, moving of 
buildings has become difficult, but before that time such 
changes were not uncommon. We have thought that 
an account of such as have occurred within our knowl- 
edge of fifty years might not be wholly devoid of interest; 
though such might possibly prove unacceptable to present 
occupants. We remember a case where a citizen (now 
long gone) was boasting of "my fi?ie residence " and was 


taken down a little by another's saying, " Why, yes, we 
thought it pretty good when it was father's carpenter- 
shop down at our place." 

The present writing is suggested by examination of 
the United States engineers' plan referred to in a pre- 
vious article about a gristmill, and on which is clearly 
shown the Wood mill, over which there was such a stir 
in '68-'7o. 

The "Fuller plan" of the "Smith estate" at W T est 
Medford (the tract lying between High street, the rail- 
road and the river), plotted on the same scale, shows a 
similar inward curve, but not the former's island. A 
plan (by Hovey), in 1870, of a portion of the above, lying 
beside the river, shows a somewhat lesser curve with no 
island, and another street nearer the river. This is set 
down as " Beach street." Facing this street, upon lots 
extending backward to the Mystic, seven dwelling-houses 
were erected prior to 1875. One was destroyed by fire, 
another torn down, and five removed to other sites, as 
under conditions then existing they proved undesirable 
habitations. With the introduction of sewerage and the 
building of the Cradock dam the adverse condition 

Beach street disappeared in the Metropolitan reserva- 
tion, but after some work was done on the new parkway 
on the Medford side, plans were changed and it was 
built on the Arlington side nearly the entire length of 
the "linefeilde," obliterating the last vestige of the old 
Broughton mill-site, the old Dunster house, changing the 
course of Menotomy river, passing through the Somer- 
ville appendix and only entering Medford at Auburn 
street. By the "taking" of this riverside by the Metro- 
politan Park Commission came later the sale of several 
houses, and their removal, but prior to that three others, 
huilt in 1873 and 1875, were removed for similar cause 
as those on Beach street. One even took a journey, in 
x ^n> over the Usher bridge into Arlington, via Broad- 
way to Curtis street (the Somerville continuation of 


Medford's Winthrop) where it now stands, near the 
western corner of the reservoir, in West Somerville. It 
was a notable incident, for in its journey it was in three 
municipalities, and only lacked a few rods of being in 
Medford again. But before this triple exodus, owing to 
the extension of Brooks street (from Irving to High) the 
barn of Samuel Teele, Sr., was moved to Arlington 
street, as an adjunct to one of those houses. When that 
house migrated to the old barn site, the barn followed it, 
but stopped at Mr. Usher's, and was later destroyed by 
fire, a regretable circumstance, as in it were destroyed 
some of Mr. Usher's old Medford Journals, of which no 
file is known to have been preserved. Were that barn 
now standing it might be adapted to dwelling purposes 
and relieve the housing situation now so acute. A list 
of the shops, barns and factories in Medford so adapted 
would be an extensive and interesting one. But we 
doubt the adaptability of the modern garage to such use 
when people become tired of being on wheels and gas 
and rubber prices become prohibitive. 


In previous issues (Vol. XX, Nos. i and 2) the Regis- 
ter has told, in some detail, of the construction by 
Charlestown (ere its annexation to Boston), of its water- 
works within the bounds of Medford and Somerville. It 
is now twenty years since the abandonment of Mystic 
lake as a water supply, but the tall, graceful chimney of 
the pumping station, though disused, had remained a 
noticeable object. A few years ago the older boilers and 
pumping engines were scrapped and the roof of the coal 
bunker removed, revealing to the few visitors its great 
size. The top of the chimney, through lack of care con- 
sequent upon disuse, had become disintegrated and dan- 
gerous. Its removal was decided on, and work begun 
to that end. By removal of bricks on a portion of the 
easterly side, a fissure was made across it near its base, 


and the whole mass fell over into the vacant coal bunker 
at about 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1 (1920). 
Its fall attracted no widespread attention, as by its falling 
into the walled excavation the noise of its impact was 
largely smothered, or little diffused. 

It was built upon a granite base fifteen feet square. 
A pedestal of twenty feet was paneled with two Roman 
arches in each side, and capped with brown stone. Each 
side of the tapering shaft was reinforced with two diag- 
onal buttresses, and the top was elaborately designed and 
ornamented with quatrefoils of brown stone. It rose to 
a height of one hundred and five feet and was first in use 
on November 4, 1864. 

On September 15 (1920), while removing the debris at 
the base of the shaft, the workmen came upon a copper 
box at about fifteen inches from either face at the easterly 
corner. There was no stone, or indication of its presence. 
It was simply embedded in the regular brickwork and 
was 4x4x9 inches in size, and contained four Boston 
(morning) papers (of October 1, 1863), three Charlestown 
papers (weekly) one New York daily, Harper's Weekly, 
and a New York comic weekly, The Phunny Phellow. 
Noticeable in the two latter are the cartoons relating to 
the French occupation of Mexico, and the "rebel rams" 
built in England, the time being that of the Civil War. 
The Charlestown directory and city reports of the previ- 
ous year, with the report on the introduction of water, 
including a complete map of the system, and an envelope 
containing a silver half-dollar of 1807, a copper half-cent 
of 1807, a copper cent, and another (copper) coin so 
flattened as to defy identification, and two bronze (Indian) 
cents of 1863, made up the contents, which we were 
afforded the privilege of examining. 

We found no reference to the waterworks in the 
Boston dailies, and have discovered (as yet) no intima- 
tion of any ceremonies attendant upon the depositing of 
the box, which was probably on October 1 or 2 of 1863. 

The Charlestown Enterprise and Bunker Hill Aurora 

62 AN OLD HISTORIAN'S VIEW. [September, 

of next previous date were accompanied by the E7iler- 
prise of Saturday, October 4, 1862, containing an inter- 
esting column regarding the exercises of " breaking 
ground" on the preceding Saturday* "for the reservoir 
on Walnut hill." By the courtesy of Superintendent 
Killam we are enabled to present the Historical Society 
with a type-written copy of the same. 

The pumping station, which since 1900 has been 
used only for storage and recently in the war work of 
the Radio company, is to be utilized as a workshop and 
garage by the Metropolitan Commission. 

Formerly it was a place of interest to visitors. Mr. 
Bernard Born, who came from New York to set up the 
first pumping engines, remained in charge during its 
entire use as such, and saw it thrice enlarged. His 
aquarium was always a source of interest to the young- 
sters, and his alligators also, until grown somewhat they 
were removed to other quarters. With its closing, the 
bridge across the river to Jerome street, not being a pub- 
lic one, was removed, leaving no passage between Canal 
and Usher bridges at Boston and Harvard avenues. 

To the casual observer, this building and chimney 
appeared to be in Medford, but was, however, in Somer- 
ville, formerly Charlestown. This was because some 
owners of river lots in the old Charlestown cow-pasture 
were not transferred to Medford in the change of 1754. 
After one hundred and sixty-six years of the crooked 
boundary line, it should be adjusted and dwellers therein 


In 1839 a book was published at Worcester, whose 
title was " Historical Collections." Its author was John 
Warner Barber. It contained a colored map of Massa- 
chusetts, a condensed history of the state, also devoted 
specially a page to each county, and covered the^'his- 

*See Register, Vol. XX, p. 30, article by J. H. Hooper. 


tories and antiquities" of the three hundred and sixteen 
towns in a greater or less degree. It was a substantial 
volume of six hundred and twenty-five pages, illustrated 
by two hundred wood engravings. But little more than 
one page and one illustration was devoted to Medford, 
whose population was given as 2,075. ^ ts then northern 
neighbor, Woburn, with 2,643 inhabitants, had two 
pages and two excellent views given it. Eleven lines 
sufficed for Stoneham, which had but 932 people in its 
"village of about forty dwelling houses." Medford's 
western neighbor, then West Cambridge, had 1,308 of 
population, and was noted in eighteen lines. Charles- 
town, which then extended to West Cambridge, with 
10,101 people, was of course given prominence by the 
historian. Maiden had 2,303, and its story was told in 
two pages, including one illustration. 

The Historical Society has in its library a copy of Mr. 
Barber's work which is well worth examination. It was 
given by Mr. George D. Cummings, and was that of his 
father, the late Charles Cummings, long principal of 
Medford's high school. At the time of his donation, the 
younger Mr. Cummings remarked (of the view), "How 
does that street look to you?" Mr. Barber said in his 

The drawings for the numerous engravings were, with few ex- 
ceptions, taken on the spot by the author, 

and trusted that any critics would look from his point of 
view. He certainly did "some job " in preparing this 
work, and must have traversed the state quite thoroughly 
to have sketched the two hundred views. 

Recently the "wood block engravings "made from his 
sketches, and from which his illustrations were printed 
in 1839, have come into the possession of the Society 
for the Preservatio7i of New England Antiquities. By its 
courtesy, we present one on the Register's frontispiece, 
and bespeak for it a careful observation. 

Mr. Barber named none of the features of this "South- 

64 AN OLD HISTORIAN'S VIEW. [September, 1920.] 

ern view of Medford," as he did in many others, but the 
reader will recognize its foreground as the present 
Moore square. The third meeting-house, at the extreme 
left, was torn down in 1839, the year of Mr. Barber's 
publication, and stood on the site of present Unitarian 
church. The second meeting-house (site of Page & 
Curtin's store) and the Andrew Hall house (now stand- 
ing) are in the center, backed by Pasture hill, on the 
slope of which is the Hall summer-house. Next in 
prominence is the town hall, the great sycamores across 
the street from it, and the old Dr. Tufts house. Stretch- 
ing backward is a veritable forest — Forest street — and 
in the extreme right the Universalist meeting-house. 
The river and a schooner with sails set is also in evi- 
dence, but we look in vain for the branch canal which 
crossed the vacant space in the left lower corner of this 
view. The four-horse team is significant; but the artist 
should have made the turn in the fence behind the big 
wagon, and shown Main street extending to the town 
hall instead of to the left of the old meeting-house, the 
present Winthrop square. 

But of course, allowance must be made for inaccuracies 
in sketching ; and we do well to remember that it was 
only in 1839 that Daguerre's invention became known. 
It is a long stride from the wood cut to the half-tone. 

Mr. Barber mentioned four industries of Medford: 
Ship-building, bricks, hats and linseed oil, but nothing 
whatever of a certain other noted product. On his title 
page he styled his work u a general collection of inter- 
esting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, 
etc., with geographical descriptions." It certainly was, 
but in it we look in vain for any allusion to any "Cradock 
house." Absence of such (in view of the above title 
page) is good evidence that the widely circulated myth 
had not then been fabricated. 

< - 

Z C/J 


The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIII. DECEMBER, 1920. No. 4. 


BY way of contrast to the recent launching on the 
Mystic, let us turn backward the pages of authentic 
history to a date almost three centuries ago and read it 
as quoted by our local historian in 1855 : — 

July 4, 1 63 1. The governor built a bark at Mistick which was 
launched this day and called ''The Blessing of the Bay' 

and again, 

Aug. 9. The governor's bark being of thirty tons went to sea. 

The historian says, " It cost one hundred and forty- 
five pounds," and quotes the owner (Governor Winthrop) 
as saying, five years later, "I will sell her for one hun- 
dred and sixty pounds." It would be interesting to 
follow, were it possible, the career of this early product 
of Mystic river ship building, and to know if the gov- 
ernor realized his ten plus per cent profit. We trust 
that he did, but even so we cannot style him a " profiteer." 
Now note the following words of our historian, which 
preceded the quotations above noted which he evidently 
made in their support : 

To this heroic and Christian adventurer belongs the honor of 
building the first vessel whose keel was laid in this part of the 
Western World; and that vessel was built on the bank of Mystic 
River, and probably not far from the governor's house at " Ten 
Hills." There is a tradition that it was built on the north shore of 
the river, and therefore in the limits of Medford. 

Just what " this part of the Western World" means is 
open to query, but it is a known fact that a vessel was 
built by the Popham colonists in Maine at an earlier 



66 MEDFORD, CONDITA, 1623. [December. 

date. This he seems to have been unaware of, or over- 
looked, and while stating that the Blessing was built 
near the governor's house at Ten Hills, mentions a tra- 
dition about the north side of the river, and immediately 
says, " the record concerning it is as follows : 'The gov- 
ernor built a bark at Mistick which was launched this 
day and called The Blessing of the Bay?" 

We do not deny but that there was a tradition cur- 
rent relative to early ship building on the north side of 
the river. In fact, we think there may have been, and 
that Mr. Brooks, who wrote as above in 1855, at the age 
of sixty, had it from his forbears, who were men of 
mature age, when Thatcher Magoun established his 
shipyard on the '■ north side of the Mistick," and when 
later other ship-builders found the remains of old ways 
and timbers farther down beside the river. 

So Mr. Brooks transfers Winthrop's ship-building 
from Charlestown to Medford, by saying, " the record 
concerning it is as follows," and quotes: "July 4, 1631. 
The governor's bark, etc., etc." Now as we look at it, 
the governor's bark (the Blessing) was built just where 
the governor wrote that it was, at " Mistick," the "Ten 
Hills Farm " in Charlestown (present Somerville), and 
not in Medford at all. Neither had Governor Winthrop 
any possessions whatever in the Medford of that day, and 
while as governor he had governmental oversight and 
interest in all parts of the little early colony, we know of 
only twice (by record) of his bodily presence in the then 
Medford. Not to detract a particle from his worth or 
fame, we think that much that has been said about his 
paternalism of Medford is largely overdrawn, and con- 
fessing to our own share in the same are willing to be 

Now, while tradition has been said to be an unsafe 
guide, it may be well to look into this a little. Our his- 
torian was an enthusiast in anything relating to our 
history, as witness his story of the so-called Cradock 
house, the Baldwin apple, the Touro- Lafayette episode, 

1920.] MEDFORD, CONDITA, 1628. 67 

and the u old black schooner" (a smuggler) on the 
Mystic, so hastily unloaded. 

But what about the tradition of the governor's bark ? 
for traditions have some value after all. Perhaps it can 
be supported and made less shadowy by authentic record. 
Let us see. There is, in the archives of our State 
House, carefully preserved, a letter from, and in the 
handwriting of, another "Governor," the presiding 
functionary of the London Company chartered by King 
Charles I, who made that company a grant of land in 
New England in width from three miles north of the 
Merrimack river to three miles south of the Charles 
river and westward to the South sea in which to do 
business. The company had sent over a colony which 
settled at Nahumkeeke, i.e. Salem, with a few at Cape 
Ann, i.e. Gloucester, but who left there and settled at 
Mattapan (present Dorchester) and a few at Nantasket. 
All these were under the supervision of a local governor, 
John Endicott. 

There had some from Salem found their way across 
country (or otherwise) to the Mistick valley, and had 
here settled in the interests of that presiding function- 
ary who was styled u governour," and whose name was 
Matthew Cradock. We have the evidence of that in the 
testimony of the Spragues, who, coming from Salem in 
1629, found them here settled and employed. Now let 
us return to the letter of Cradock. Endicott had 
written a letter to him from Salem, dated September 13, 
1628. It took just five months for it to reach Cradock, 
who three days later, February 16, 1628-9, replied to it, 
writing the letter we have mentioned, and which we have 
personally seen and examined. The letter acquainted 
Endicott of the enlargement of the company (since his 
departure from England), of the purchase of another ship, 
of the hiring of two more (and possibly another), in which 
were to be sent about three hundred colonists, one hun- 
dred head of cattle and various supplies for the reinforce- 
ment of the colony of which Endicott was in charge. 

68 MEDFORD, CONDITA, 1628. [December, 

Various directions were given in that letter, among them 
one is significant and is especially interesting. It 
directed that after reaching these shores, these 

three vessels may go to the banck with 29 waigh of salt . . . lynes, 
hookes, knives, bootes and barvells necessary for frishinge 

It was further directed that if they were not expected to 
return (to the colony), 

that then you send our barke that is already built in the colony 
to bring back our fishermen and such provision of salt if any re- 
mainder bee and also of hookes lynes & c of use to you on all 

Take especial note of this: the company (through its 
chief, Cradock) writes of a bark already here built. For 
Cradock to have known of it (no cable or wirless or air- 
ships in those days) its construction must have been 
an accomplished fact when Endicott wrote to Cradock 
in September of 1628. The question naturally arises, 
where was "our bark built in the colony"? and another, 
was it the " governor's bark "? Note that the time of 
writing, February 16, 1628-9, which was (the twelfth 
month of 1628) before Winthrop's election as his succes- 
sor and before Winthrop's departure for New England. 
We have no account of any ship-building at Salem, none 
at Dorchester or Nantasket at that early time, and ask, 
where then but at Medford where the Spragues found 
Cradock's men established ? There was no lack of tim- 
ber for their use, and as to metal work and rigging the 
earliest record of the company (now extant) shows pro- 
vision for iron, steel, copper and sailcloth. It was an 
organized business corporation of men of means who 
began the Bay colony, and sent their employees across 
the sea equipped for service, and who followed their first 
adventure with more and better provision and personnel, 
including the governor with the king's charter on which 
to erect a government. 

Therefore the tradition of a governor's bark, not Win- 
throp's but Cradock's, " on the north side of the river, 
and therefore in the limits of Medford," in the light of 



Cradock's reference takes on new interest. Especially 
is this so when we refer to the story of Wood in his New 
England Prospect, of the Rebecca, sixty tons, and one of 
one hundred tons the next year, built here by Cradock's 

What name that earlier " governor's bark," the "our 
barke already built in the colony " bore, we shall probably 
never know. Its tonnage may have equalled or exceeded 
that of Winthrop's fancifully named one of thirty tons, 
and compared favorably with the Talbot of forty-six and 
one-half tons, which brought the colonists of Salem 
under Endicott across the stormy Atlantic. It certainly 
antedated the Blessing of the Bay by two years, and its 
mention by Cradock (still existing in his own hand) 
points to a settlement of Medford in 1628. 


As a matter of local history the Register reprints the 
following from the morning edition of the Boston Globe 
of Wednesday, December 1, 1920: 

Launched at practically the same spot at which the first vessel 
ever built in Massachusetts was launched, nearly 300 years ago, the 
four-masted schooner Tremont, the second vessel ever built in 
Somerville, took her initial dip into the waters of the Mystic yester- 
day afternoon at 3. 1 1 from the Mystic River Ship Company yards, 
near Wellington Bridge. 

Five thousand people assembled to watch the schooner slide 
gracefully into the water, where she was met by two tug-boats, 
which towed her to Barrett wharf in East Boston. A thousand 
children from the schools of Somerville and Medford, released from 
their classes early to attend the launching, set up a great cheer as 
the vessel took the water. 

Miss Annie Ferrullo, 17-year old daughter of Generose Ferrullo, 
one of the contractors, of Medford Hillside , broke a bottle of 
Italian wine over the bow and christened the schooner "Tremont." 
The vessel is named after the Tremont Trust Company. The 1500- 
ton Tremont is valued at $200,000. 

As the date of the above lacks but four days of being 
forty-seven years from the launching of the last Medford 


ship (the Pilgrim, by Captain J. T. Foster. See Regis- 
ter, Vol. XVI, p. 71), it is evident that the sight must 
have been a novel one and of interest to Somerville and 
Medford people. To the comparatively few of the latter 
who recall memories and legends of the old busy days 
along the Mystic, and to those who have watched, from 
the car windows in passing, the slow progress of its build- 
ing it was especially so. From the Bosto7i Post of Octo- 
ber 22, we quote: 

The history of the new vessel notes many obstacles placed in 
the way of completion which threatened at many times to leave 
nothing but an abandoned hulk on the banks of the Mystic to show 
for this attempt to again make the Mystic a center for ship-building. 

The war paved the way for the opening of contracts, which led 
to the building of the schooner, and the war in turn placed the 
obstacles in its way, which all but led to the abandonment of the 
project. . .' . In 191 7 the Mystic River Ship Company was 
formed and made plans for the construction of a vessel for the 
mahogany trade . . . legislation prevented putting the vessel to 
the use for which it was intended. An order from the Norwegian 
government received, work was begun. Its keel was laid on 
March 12, 19 iS. Again legislation prevented delivery of ships to 
the Norwegian government and work stopped. At intervals when 
money could be raised work was resumed. . . . The last work by 
the ship company was done in December, 1919. From that time 
until August 5 of this year work was abandoned. Then the Trust 
Company took up the work of completion. The schooner is 175 
feet in keel, 204 feet over all, 38.2 feet in width, 19.6 feet in depth 
and has two decks. . . . First-class rooms, with the most modern 
conveniences, were built for the officers and crew. She will carry 
a crew of nine men, and has capacity of 1600 tons of coal, although 
she can be used for other trade. 

By the above it appears that the enterprise of build- 
ing this vessel has been attended with adversity and 
probable loss to the originators, and that the ultimate 
cost was far in excess of the early estimate. During the 
construction the writer made a number of visits and was 
courteously treated, and learned much new to him that 
certainly increased the regard he had for the men who 
toiled in the shipyards of Medford in the days of yore, 
and whose work made Medford famous. 



The forests of the South and of the Pacific slope, as 
well as the oaks of nearer states enter into the construc- 
tion of the Tre??zo?it, while steam, compressed air, and 
the gas engine had much to do in shaping timbers and 
boring for tree-nails that in the old days, even of the 
building of the Pilgrim in '73, was laboriously done by 
hand. The place of the Trenton? s building is not in 
Medford but in Somerville, and supposedly at or near 
where the Blessing of the Bay was built and launched 
in 1 63 1, and till 1842 a part of Charlestown. 

By annexation from other towns the original Medford 
has extended its borders and Wellington bridge connects 
and makes neighbors of those the river separated. Great 
possibilities of growth and improvement lie along the 
Mystic up-stream, that coming years should see realized. 
Under wise municipal administration and mutual co- 
operation of labor with capital this may be for the future 
historian to record. 

To the Editor of the Medford Historical Register: 

Dear Sir: — 

I was much interested in article (Vol. XXIII, p. 53) 
on Medford's first grist mill. It occurs to me that it is 
timely to try to answer some of the questions asked in 
the article, and perhaps to criticize some of the state- 
ments and conclusions of the author. I agree with Mr. 
Brooks that in all probability the Wade mill was the first 
erected within Medford limits. The senior Mr. Wade 
purchased land in Medford May 25, 1661, and his sons 
Jonathan and Nathaniel came to reside thereon soon 
after the purchase. He himself resided in Ipswich, where 
he died in 1683. By his will he gave to his son Jona- 
than one-half of his farm in Mistick, with one-half of the 
stock upon it, and he gave to his son Nathaniel the 
other half of the farm and the other half of the stock, 
"to be divided equally between them." The westerly 


part of the farm was Jonathan's share. It was upon the 
brook in that part that the mill was located. It was 
called a saw mill, although it may also have been used 
as a grist mill. 

Medford people were no doubt served at Broughton's 
mill (built in 1656) which, although situated across the 
river in Charlestown (present Arlington), was owned and 
operated by Medford men the greater part of the time. 
In 1698, when the town petitioned the General Court 
" for liberty to build a grist mill on the river near and 
above Mistick bridge," it must have been its intention 
to build it as a public work. The General Court granted 
the petition, but it is evident that no action was taken 
by the town to build a mill, as the records fail to show 
that the town ever voted to build, or to appropriate any 
money therefor. In the absence of any such votes we 
may rest assured that no mill was built by the town. 
B rough ton's mill must then (1698) have been out of re- 
pair and unable to serve Medford people or they would 
not have complained of being obliged to travel as far as 
Noddle's Island (East Boston) to be served. This peti- 
tion affected the interests of Mr. Joseph Prout, owning 
as he did the Broughton mill, where, as he said, the pub- 
lic had been served for about " thirty or forty years," and 
in all probability it moved him to take action to supply 
the wants of the Medford people by putting in repair the 
old Broughton mill on the Charlestown side of the river. 

In the year 17 10 Joseph Prout sold to Jonathan Dun- 
ster, " mill, mill-yard, buildings and Orchard one Acre 
also one and one-half acres of upland on the north side 
of the river at the end of the old dam." In the same 
conveyance is named "one and three-fourths acres of 
meadow land on the north side of the river at the end of 
the mill dam." It is beyond a doubt that a mill was on 
the Charlestown side of the river (whatever its condition 
may have been) at the time of this sale, and we know 
that the one and one-half acres of upland at the end of 
"the old dam " extended to the water's edge without any 



meadow land intervening, and we also know that the one 
and three-fourths acres of meadow land at the "end of 
the mill dam " is the identical land upon which the re- 
mains of an old structure were found.* Harvard avenue 
is located through this land. Does not the omission of 
the mention of a mill on this land indicate that there was 
not any mill there at the time of the sale? .And if this is 
correct, it shows that while in all probability Joseph 
Prout built the dam, or allowed Jonathan Dunster to 
build it, Mr. Dunster must have the credit of building a 
new mill where those remains were found on this land. 
It is to be noted that Broughton's mill was built before 
he received a deed of the land from Henry Dunster. 

In the year 1822, Moses Robbins, a descendant of 
Jonathan Dunster, deeded to Cyrus Cutter "one acre of 
marsh land, bounded southwest on Mystic river, north- 
east on Deacon John Larkin, southeast on James Cutter, 
together with all the mill privileges if there be any be- 
longing to the said parcel of land " on the north side of 
the river. There is no mention of a building in the deed. 
James Cutter owned the other part of the acre and three- 
fourths of marsh land that Joseph Prout sold to Jonathan 

Mr. Brooks says, in writing of a mill a short distance 
below Wear bridge, " the place is yet occupied." If we 
are to be guided by Moses Robbins' deed, there was not 
any building there in 1822, but the conveyance of mill 
rights shows that a mill stood there at one time. Mr. 
Brooks' statement that the place is yet occupied prob- 
ably had reference to the remains recently discovered. 

In regard to the query about Mistick bridge, I answer 
that the term Mistick bridge meant the bridge located 
where the Cradock bridge now stands. There was no 
other bridge across the river at that date ( 1 698). I n 1 699, 
the town voted to give Mr. John Johnson " three pounds 
towards building a horse bridge over the wears." That 
bridge, which it is assumed was built, must have had a 
brief existence, for many years after, constant complaints 

•See Illustration, Vol. XIII, No. 3. 




were made of the lack of a bridge at the wears. Medford 
and Charlestown neglected to supply the wants of the 
people, until in 1747 the General Court ordered "that a 
good and sufficient bridge be erected over the wears." 
That bridge when erected made a seco?id bridge over the 

In 1757, " Medford Great bridge " was spoken of, evi- 
dently to distinguish it from the new bridge over the 
wears. It is doubtful if at that time the term " Wear 
bridge," was in use. The bridge at the center was called 
Mistick as late as 1754. It is not at all probable that 
Broughton's mill dam was ever called a bridge. 

I was also interested, and somewhat amused with the 
view of Medford in 1839, as shown in the Register, 
Vol. XXIII, No. 3, and in reading some of the remarks 
of the author of the article in explanation of the illus- 
tration. I was interested because I lived in what is 
called Moore square in that same year (1839), and in 
that vicinity for many years after, and there is hardly a 
foot of land but what I have traveled over time and again. 
I fail to recognize Moore square as the place where the 
four-horse team is located, for the reason that had the 
team been in or near the square it would have been sur- 
rounded by houses and such a view would have been 
impossible. Nor could the point of view of the artist 
have been on Main street where the author of the article 
assumes it to be, unless it was as far away from Moore 
square as Brooks park, and then he would have been 
obliged to ignore the Middlesex canal, Branch canal and 
locks, also the Turnpike with the bridge over the 
Branch, to have sketched such a view, all of which were 
plainly visible. As I look at the illustration, the four- 
horse team is on Mystic avenue, or the Turnpike of 
those days. Note the wide expanse of land between the 
road and the river, without any road or building inter- 
vening. Without doubt that is the salt marsh, which 
occupied the entire space between the road and the 
river. I lived on the turnpike in the year 1843 ( not ^ ar 


from where the boy appears to be standing), and I have 
seen just that view times without number, and I confi- 
dently assert that there is no other place where such a 
view could have been taken except in that vicinity. 

Of course, when one learns that the illustration is in- 
tended to represent Medford, it is not difficult to point 
out what the author of the article deemed to be the most 
prominent buildings, but were it not for the word Med- 
ford applied to the illustration, I should never suspect it 
was our good old town. 



Referring to Mr. Hooper's letter, it is clearly evident 
that Medford in its corporate capacity never availed 
itself of the legislative permission to build a grist-mill. 
In using the caption " Medford's First Grist-mill" it was 
not our intention to claim any municipal construction or 
ownership. By interview we find Mr. Hooper is of the 
opinion that the "very suitable place a little above 
Mistick bridge " was on the present Armory grounds, 
because of the peculiar configuration of the land and the 
creek, the slight remains of which may yet be observed 
in the rear of the Tufts residence. 

Remembering the fact that there was formerly an 
island nearby, we are quite sure this location is nearly 
a duplicate of the one up-stream where the remains of 
that old structure were found. It is also certain that it 
was later the site of a tanning establishment, but with 
how much (or little) of power we cannot say. Again, 
the objections raised by Prout would be stronger against 
this site than the other. 

But it is certain that somebody built a dam at the 
upper site and on land then (or later) owned by Prout, 
within a few years after the petition we have quoted, as 
shown by the following, which is a copy of the deed of 




Joseph Prout to Jonathan Dunster referred to by Mr. 

All that his millstead lying and being on Mistick alias called 
Medford River att Metrotomy with the millyard and orchard within 
the bounds of Charlestowne containing one acre more or less bound- 
ing easterly, south, and westerly by said Dunster's lands and north- 
erly on the river. 

Also one acre and three quarters of Medow Land belonging thereto 
be it more or less lying on the north side of the River and at the 
end of the Mill Dam bounding on the land of Ebenezer Brooks 
within the bounds of Medford. 

Also another piece of upland containing an acre and a half lying 
on the north side of the River at the end of the old Dam within 
the bounds of Medford bounded by the said Brooks his land be the 
same more or less. 

Together with the Dwelling House fences, Trees fruit-trees on 
said premises with the Banks Damms Streams Wayes w ch - Mr. 
Broughton purchased from Mr. Henry Dunster. 

Mr. Henry Dunsterf was the first President of Har- 
vard College and father of Jonathan, the grantee named 

Just here the reader will do well to remember that 
until 1842 Charlestown extended from the Menotomy 
River along the Mystic River and lakes and farther on 
to Woburn line on the high land of Turkey hill in pres- 
ent Arlington. Also let the reader note the order in 
which Prout conveyed the three parcels of land : 

First, the acre (in present Arlington) that was sur- 
rounded on the three landward sides by property of the 
grantee and on the other by the river. 

Second, the two parcels in Medford, bounded land- 
ward by Ebenezer Brooks and otherwise by the river. 
Notice the first of these two was meadow {i.e. marsh) 
land and at the end of the mill dam ; the second, upland 
at the end of the old dam. 

Here are two distinct dams mentioned. The latter 
dam was almost opposite the angle of present Arlington 
street, and when constructed was across the stream. 
The former must have been a wing dam perhaps from 

♦Middlesex Registry, Book 15, page 201. 
tSee Register, Vol. XIII, p. 10. 


the two islands then at that point in the river. That 
particular piece of " medow land " is shown on Plan of 
Smith Estate in 1870 as of ownership of u Cutter," and for 
years later the marsh grass was annually cut there. 
Having made his enumeration and description of the 
three parcels, Prout mentioned the various appurtenances 
thereto belonging, and while specifying a dwelling house, 
did not mention any mill buildi?ig on either side the 
river. Notice, at that time twelve years had elapsed 
since Medford petitioned the General Court, and fifty- 
four (or more) since Broughton built his mills, to which 
in his deed Prout referred not as mill, but as a "millstead? 
With the lapse of years, the adverse decision of the court 
in the Symmes damage case, which must have been at- 
tended with loss of power, and the discontinuance of the 
Woburn road thereto, the Broughton "millstead" must 
have been decadent. By acquiring of Prout the acre 
and three quarters of meadow land in Medford, Jonathan 
Dunster, who lived opposite, by building a mill on this 
"suitable place" in Medford could supply the needs of 
Medford people and his mill be u a Convenience of 
places Adjacent." 

We regret that at the time of the unearthing of the 
remains of that old mill Mr. Hooper was absent from 
town, and so never saw them. Had he, with his mechani- 
cal knowledge he could have explained many things that 
are beyond our ken, and we know no other to whom we 
can appeal. At an interview, he furnished us the follow- 
ing from the Middlesex Court File of June, 1679, in case 
of Prout vs. Dunster, et aL\ 

I Thomas Gleison aged abt. 66 : years do testifle y* when I was 
tenant to M r Henr Dunster w ch is now neere 20 : years past & then 
occupied his farme house adjoyneing to Cambridge Comon on y e 
west side winottime the said Dunster told mee y l he had sold a high- 
way for the use of Misticke Mill, and then he told mee that y e said 
highway was to pass through his land from the Mill to Cambr. 
Comon, and asked mee whether it were better it should by thorow 
y* yard adjoyneing to y e sd Gleisons then dwelling-house, or on y e 
other side of y e Lott next Goodm. Russells lott. Whereupon I told 




him that unless it were fenced out, it were fare better y* it should 
by thorow y e yard for y l was in sight, whereupon Mr Dunster 
thanked mee for my advice, & prayed mee y l people might passe 
w th out disturbance, w ch they did accordingly while I was there, 
also he told mee y 1 he had received ten pounds for y e same. 

Taken upon Oath, 23, 4, 1676 
Before Thomas Danforth, Assist 1 . 

The " Cambridge Comon " in the above was the com- 
mon or pasturage land of Cambridge, which then included 
Lexington in its bounds. Referring to Henry Dunster's 
deed to Broughton (see Register, Vol. XIII, p. 10) we 
find conveyance of 

two Rods broad for a highway (from the s d Mills) to go too & fro 
betwixt the said Mills & Concord w r ay throu all the land of the said 
Hen. Dunster till it shall come to the publique country highway to 

and that Thomas Gleason was one of the witnesses to 
the same on March 6, 1656. Evidently this w T as the 
"Waves" mentioned in Prout's deed of 17 10 and corre- 
sponds to present Winter street in Arlington. 

As pertinent to these conveyances and the site of the 
old Broughton mill we refer to our frontispiece and ac- 
knowledge the forethought and interest of Mr. Hooper 
in securing the two views of the mill site just before 


Spme of our older Medford residents will remember 
the old, comfortable-appearing dwelling on South street, 
which, perhaps a dozen years since, was demolished to 
make way for the erection of several apartment houses. 
It faced the river, sat low on the ground, well back from 
the street, with ample space about it. The main house 
was L-shaped ; in the internal angle was a large square 
veranda, its roof supported at the outer corner by a 
massive round column. A peculiar feature of the house 
was the circular end toward South street, in which was 
a chimney and fireplaces. 




Aside from that of the elder Magoun, it was the only 
one in old Medford that had any circular construction. 
It was never painted in color, always white, and its solid 
appearance, especially its window frames and cornice, 
showed it to be the work of old-time mechanics who 
knew their calling. Its walls were weather-boarded with 
clapboards, well lapped in width and at ends. These 
extended around the circle also — another proof of the 
workmen's skill. This house was, a century ago, the 
summer home of Abraham Touro, a wealthy Boston 
merchant, who went out from it one morning but never 
again came to it because of an accident resulting in his 
death in Boston on October 20, 1822. We have alluded 
elsewhere in this issue to a " Touro-Lafayette episode," 
and now quote from page 493, Brooks' History of 

1825. — Medford has not been a resort for Jews; but it had one 
who is remembered with interest, Abraham Touro, eminent for his 
social and generous qualities. When General Lafayette reached 
Massachusetts, Mr. Touro offered him his noble horse for his en- 
trance into Boston. On the day of that triumphal entry, Mr. 
Touro was standing in his chaise to catch his first sight of the illus- 
trious visitor, when a sudden start of his horse threw him from his 
place and broke his leg. The fracture was a very bad one, and the 
patient grew worse daily. The physicians and surgeons did all 
they could, and finally assured him that nothing but amputation 
could save his life. With a Jew's traditionary prejudice against 
that operation, he firmly answered thus : 4t No ! I will never go into 
heaven with one leg." 

Mr. Brooks made brief mention of his wealth and 
legacies. We can but wonder what he would think 
could he read the Medford tax-list today; and also as to 
his source of information relative to Lafayette, whose 
first return to this country was in the fall of 1824, two 
years after Mr. Touro's death. 

From the Independent Chronicle a?id Patriot of Wednes- 
day, October 25, 1822, we quote the following, which 
may be regarded as authentic : 

Died. On Friday afternoon, Abraham Touro, Esq., merchant, 


aged, abt. 46. While viewing the military parade on the 3 d inst. 
in a chaise, his horse was frightened by the fire of the artillery, and 
became unmanageable, and Mr. T. in leaping from the chaise frac- 
tured his leg so seriously, that notwithstanding the best surgical 
assistance, a mortification ensued and terminated his life. We 
learn that among other legacies, he has bequeathed 10,000 dollars 
to the General Hospital and 15,000 to the synagogue at Newport, 
at which place his body will be interred. 

So it appears that his offer of " his noble horse " to 
Lafayette for a triumphant entry into Boston (which has 
been accepted as veritable history since 1855), vanishes; 
and must be added to the catalogue of "Medford Myths." 

But how came this accident to happen ? We will 
summon a former Medford man, Caleb Swan. His tes- 
timony is not a deposition under oath to be filed in 
court, but is, however, in writing and interleaved in his 
copy of Mr. Brooks' history at page 493, on which page 
is written 1824 beside the printed 1825. Mr. Swan evi- 
dently observed the dissimilarity in date, but makes no 
note of the error as to Lafayette. 

Mr Dudley Hall told me in 1S53 [that] Mr. Touro lent his own 
horse to a military friend to ride on the Parade — and his friend sent 
•his own horse to Mr Touro, to use in place of his own — after 
breakfast, he concluded to drive the horse into Boston, and drove 
over to Mr Hall, to ride in with him. Mr H. did not wish to go 
that day, but Mr. Touro urged him, and finally told him he did not 
like to go alone with so spirited a horse as he had, when Mr H. 
got into the Chaise, and rode into Boston, and then left him [at] 
head of Elm Street, and went into State Street. Mr. Touro then 
drove up to the Common, where the accident happened. B. L. 
S.[wan] says Mr Touro was standing up in his Chaise to look over 
the heads of the Crowd, and see the Troops, when at 12, a Cannon 
was fired — his horse started, and turned around when he fell out — 
his leg was broken below the knee. 

, The " Parade " was the fall inspection of the militia of 
Boston and Chelsea and the review on the Common. 

Mr. Swan purchased five copies of the " History of 
Medford " at its publication in '55, and in 1905 his per- 
sonal copy with his interleavings was given to the His- 
torical Society by his grandson, Charles Herbert Swan, 





only recently deceased. The " military friend " with 
whom Mr. Touro made the temporary exchange of 
horses, was undoubtedly Governor Brooks; and the 
occasion of this inspection and review may have been 
his last, certainly one of his latest, public appearances. 
Probably Mr. Touro, in leaving his pleasant home in 
Medford that morning, little thought that he was never 
to return to it. We are unable to ascertain whether his 
death occurred at the hospital or at his Boston residence, 
— but probably at the former — nor yet anything of his 
funeral. He was president of the Medford Turnpike 
Corporation at the time of his death, though not one of 
the original stockholders, but there is no note of his 
passing upon its records. It is fitting here to reproduce, 
from the pen of a modern historian and genealogist, the 
following which we find in our Society's library. It is 
signed with his pen ?iame, but he "in propria persona" 
gives us his permission thus to use it : 

Notes and Queries, Boston Transcript 

Saturday, December 30, 191 1. 

Note 2478. Touro Family of Boston and Medford. New in- 
formation from a descendant. Abraham Touro was a man of 
ability. He was aggressive in his business affairs. His patrimony 
may not have been large, but he had the way of his people in get- 
ting along in the world of trade. Perhaps he entered into much 
of the good will of the business of his uncle, Moses Michael Hays, 
and then he acted in the interests of himself and his brother, Judah 
Touro of New Orleans. His vessels were known in many a port, 
and though plying between Boston and the ports of the Indies, his 
new vessels were from his own stocks and shipyard in Medford, 
to which place also his vessels in need of repairs resorted. 

It was a sad day in Boston when he met his untimely injury and 
death, in October, 1822. Many were dependent upon him. He 
lived in a world of business. His home with his sister Rebecca 
was his castle. He had a home in Boston, but he best enjoyed his 
home in Medford, where he could have the society also of his neigh- 
bor, Governor Brooks. His will and the papers which refer to his 
estate, evidence concerning his business and his friendships. To 
be sure he dealt in wines by the tierce, and these he bestowed in 
quantities sufficient in which to take a bath. This was in years 
before the Washingtonian movement. He was generous to Gov- 




ernor John Brooks, Dr. John Warren, Captain John Pratt, R. D. 
Shepherd and John Coffin Jones. The wines contributed to the 
festivities and good fellowship of the day. He did not forget his 
friends, and in those days of his intense distress he did not forget 
good causes, nor the finest interests of his own people. To the 
Jewish Synagogue in New York city he gave $10,000 ; also he gave 
to the Legislature of Rhode Island the sum of $10,000 for the sup- 
port of the Synagogue in Newport, and to the Massachusetts 
General Hospital he gave $ to, 000. This sum fairly took the 
breath away of this last organization. Their gifts had not been 
in large sums, but it came at a most opportune time. He himself 
felt the need of the highest surgical skill. If he could have had it 
perhaps his life could have been saved. Mr. Touro also remem- 
bered the town government of Newport with the sum of $10,000 
for the repairing and the preserving of the street from the Jewish 
Burying Ground to Main street. The town might well name the 
same Touro avenue. The asylum for boys, and also for girls, of 
Boston, and Humane Society, to each he gave $5,000; and to his 
old-time friend, Mrs. Juliet Lopez of New York city, he gave 
$10,000 ; he remitted many an indebtedness to his friends and help- 
ers. And there was one kindly gift to Nahum Cobb, " a yellow 
servant," in the family, of $500, which must have looked large to 
the man to whom five dollars was monumental. 

The assets of the estate of Abraham Touro were a medley of 
bank stock, general and local, which the brokers of today know 
little of, and there was stock in many an enterprise where public 
spirit was the prominent feature rather than dividends. Among 
them the Maiden, Charlestown and Kennebec bridge companies, 
the Nevvburyport Turnpike, the Medford Turnpike, and plentiful 
shares in the Middlesex Canal ; also the South Boston Corporation, 
to say nothing of above a thousand shares in the Amoskeag Com- 
pany and shares in the Boston Theatre and the bathing house and 
riding school. These were beneficial in the end to the public, but 
whether they yielded dividends we say not. But Mr. Touro was 
public-spirited and entered into them. His chief income was from 
his merchandise overseas. 

The Touro mansion in Medford was near present Touro avenue, 
and his shipyard towards the river, and his lands reached wellnigh 
to the Medford Hillside Railroad station and towards, but not in- 
cluding, some of the campus of Tufts College. In his day he little 
dreamed of the vision of Mr. Tufts putting a light upon the bleak 
pasture lands of Walnut Hill. 

Oliver Wiswall.* 

To this we will add that the Medford turnpike and 

* Rev. Anson Titus. 


1920.] THE SOCIETY'S WORK, 1919-20. 83 

Middlesex canal paid dividends for a time. As to Mr. 
Touro's shipyard or vessels he had built in Medford — we 
fail to find even the slightest mention of any such in that 
long list compiled by Rev. Augustus Baker in 1846. 

Yet, Mr. Touro, with his wealth, may have been a 
" silent partner " in that great Medford business of a 
century ago. As said above, his name is preserved, and 
is in daily use in Medford in Touro avenue, but we know 
of no relic of his old home other than the iron fireback 
taken from the chimney and given to the Royall House 

Abraham Touro was the son of Rev. Isaac Touro, and 
had a brother Judah, who was seriously wounded "on 
the field of Chalmette," in the battle which occurred after 
peace was declared. Rescued by his " dear, old and de- 
voted friend," Rezen Davis Shepherd, he lived for nearly 
forty years, dying at Richmond, Va.,at the age of seventy- 
seven years. It may be remembered that his gift of 
$10,000 contributed largely to success in the erection 
of Bunker Hill monument. 

The Touros sleep in the Jewish cemetery at Newport, 
R. I. Doubtless the inscription on Judah's tablet may 
be well applied to Abraham of Medford, 

By righteousness and integrity he collected his wealth, 
In charity and salvation he dispensed it. 


The opening meeting, October 20, was a " Get-Together Social," 
enjoyed by all present. November 17, John Albree, Esq., of 
Swampscott (a member) gave an illustrated talk, " An Old 
Quaker's Diary." A graphic recital of " War Experiences," by 
Rev. Henry Francis Smith of West Medford on December 15. 
The largest attendance was on March 15. Mr. Malcom Davis, 
Superintendent, gave an address on the "Boy Scouts" and seven- 
teen Scouts gave examples of their work and training, after which 
refreshments were served. May 17, Librarian George S. Evans 
of Somerville told of the settling of Woburn in " The Seven against 
the Wilderness," presenting a copy to our library. October 20, 




84 ANOTHER RETROSPECT. December, 1920.] 

February 16 and April 19 the meetings were conducted by our 
members in informal manner and c * Questionnaire," "What do you 
know about salt hay" proving of inteiest. The annual meeting, 
January 19, came in the wake of a blizzard and deep snow. Fa- 
vorable reports of officers were received — our home free of debt 
and practically a clean slate on current expenses. The election 
" made no change in personell of Executive Board. Vice-President 
Ackerman was chosen President, succeeding Mr. Mann, who was 
chosen Librarian to succeed Mr. Remele, who succeeds Mr. Acker- 
man as Vice-President. A substantial " token of esteem " was pre- 
sented to the retiring President, who received it in surprise with 
" thanks" closing five years of service with no absent marks. 

On Patriots' Day over a hundred visitors came to our rooms. 

The Society has been represented at the Bay State League 


With this issue the Register closes its twenty-third 
volume. It has always been its purpose to be a register 
distinctively of Medford people and associations and of 
Medford affairs, venturing outside only as connected 
with them. At an early date the fear was expressed by 
some that subject matter would soon be exhausted. 
That fear proved groundless but others have arisen. 

While harboring none of superstition, at the closing 
of the twelfth volume we expressed the wish that the 
thirteenth might be in no wise unlucky, and asked for 
larger co-operation and increased circulation. Eleven 
years have passed, our Society has had two " removes," 
but is not facing a third, being now settled in its own 
home. We have u been through the war" experience 
of increased cost and high prices, and close Vol. XXIII 
with a deficit. We feared the directors would say 
" Skiddoo" which is, being interpreted, " Cease publica- 
tion." Yet they direct us to continue, trusting to the 
appreciation of our members, the Medford reading 
public, and the good will of all for larger future support. 
We trust that the culminating numbers (either thirteen 
or twenty-three) may not prove disastrous, and that the 
Register's future issues may be largely increased. 


Medford Historical 

Vol. XXIV, 192 i 


Medford, Mass. 



No. 1. 

First Parish Meeting House 
The Towers of Medford 
The Royall Towers 
The Royall Pavilion . 
The Route of Revere . 
Medford Pulpit Cushion 
An Editor's Troubles . 

No. 2 

Some Medford Churches 
Another Memorial Day 
Bogus History 
Henry Putnam of Medford 
The "Tama-Heure-Laune" 
Another Moving Scene 
The "Devil's Fiddle" 
Our Illustration 
Thes Doctor's Visit 
Tercentenary Note 


facing 1 6 



•. 34 

• 36 

• 33 

. . 44 

No. 3. 

The Richard Sprague House 

Our Autobiography 

An Open Letter .... 

Troubles of a Medford Churchman 

Local History in a Barber's Shop 

Another Tercentenary Note 

Letter to the Editor. Wilson Fiske 

Our Illustration 

Season of 1920-21 

Organization, 1921 

Membership List .... 

6 9 



No. 4. 


Meaford, Staffordshire .... Frotitispiccc 

The English Medford . ..... 71 

Mistick Indians and Litigation over Their Land. 

Hall Gleason 73 

Turnpike Highwayman's Fate 81 

A Recent Discovery 85 

Another Tower Erected ...... 86 

Then and Now . . . . . . . . 87 

In Memoriam ......... 90 

E s ^ 


Erected by Oakman Joyce, 1839 

Destroyed by fire, Sunday, January 15, 1893 

The Medford Historical Register, 

Vol. XXIV. • MARCH, 1921. No. 1 


" Tell the towers thereof." Psalm 4S : 12. 

IN a former issue of the Register, its readers have 
been enabled to perambulate the town lines; in this 
they may learn of its towers, ancient and modern. 

Consulting our dictionary we find a tower to be a 
structure tall or lofty as compared with its basal size, 
and are referred to spire, pagoda, campanile and steeple 
as related thereto. 

We remember that in our earliest schooldays a geog- 
raphy or atlas had upon its cover a grouped picture of 
the world's then tallest buildings, the great pyramid of 
Egypt forming its background. Its apex of five hun- 
dred feet was the limit of human constructive ability. 
Contemporary with it was Gleason's Pictorial, which car- 
ried into many homes, weekly, a view of Boston from the 
harbor, its crowning feature the State house dome and 
cupola, accentuated by the many church spires of that 

That* was before the age of steel and the erection of 
modern office buildings; and no one thought then that 
the granite custom-house would grow to a height exceed- 
ing Cheops, or of a three-hundred-foot structure in 
Medford. The same authority (the dictionary) tells us 
that towers were originally built for religious or memorial 
purposes or for defense. But an older Book tells of the 
earliest tower of which we have record, in these words, 

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top 
may reach unto heaven ; and let us make us a name . . . and they 
left off to build the city. 

Hard burned brick laid in bitumen is most durable 
construction, but the purpose failed to pass inspection. 


Evidently this tower of centuries agone was not one of 
religion, and failed of completion as a memorial. Read 
this about one for defense and shelter as it is told in old 
English : 

44 And bildide a tour, and hiride it to erthe tilleris & wente fer in 
pilgrimage" Wycliffe's trans. Matthew xxi. 

That mentioned in the parable was a watch-tower. 

And now we come to the first Medford tower, its use 
or purpose both secular and religious. It was that of 
the second Medford meeting-house. Indeed, we have 
often wondered why its height, thirty-three feet to the 
eaves, was so disproportionate to its width of thirty- 
eight. It being built in the valley, perhaps on the site 
of a brickyard, those early citizens may have emulated 
a little the ambitions of others, and, tall as their new 
meeting-house was with its pyramidal roof, they built 
thereon a little tower, i. e., a toweret or turret, and in it 
later was placed the first Medford bell. 

But it was nearly a century after its first settling that 
Medford acquired this visible distinction which is a 
feature of New England towns. Though the first 
meeting-house, on the " great rock by Oborn rode," never 
had this distinguishing exterior feature, it had in its 
pulpit a " little tower," or tourelle, in the person of its 
minister, who spelled his name Turell, — which would 
indicate that his ancestors were of French extraction. 
To him it was given to be the occupant of the second 
pulpit during its entire existence and to begin that of 
another. That second pulpit only lacked supporting 
pillars under its "sounding board " (it being suspended 
by an iron rod), to make it almost a duplicate of the bell 
turret, the only example of which latter now remaining 
is that in Hingham, built in 1681. 

In 1669-70 was built the third meeting-house. This 
had the feature of "a tower from the ground" whose first 
floor formed a vestibule, and contained a staircase lead- 
ing to the gallery. Higher up, may (prior to 18 12) have 



been stored the town's stock of powder. We are assum- 
ing this last, as such was the custom elsewhere. 

This tower was quite imposing in appearance, five 
stories in height, and stood directly against the easterly 
e?id of the meeting-house, which was of ample proportion 
to accommodate the growing town. It was surmounted 
by an open belfry. A lofty, tapering spire, which latter 
seems to have been an afterthought, was a visible monu- 
ment to Medford's "civic pride." Whether its builders 
had disposition to " crow over their neighbors " of 
Woburn, Maiden and Cambridge or over Charlestown 
(some of whose territory had lately been acquired) may 
not be said ; but upon this lofty spire was perched a 
great brass rooster, beside which the present Unitarian 
bird is but a chicken. We were told by an eye-witness 
that Sam Swan, who lived next door, captured this same 
brass bird (which fell at his feet when the spire was 
pulled down in 1839), and carried it home with him. 

In the fifth story of this tower was placed in 18 10 the 
first of Medford's public clocks, a gift to the town by 
Hon. Peter Chardon Brooks. We read in " Paul Revere's 
Ride " 

It was twelve by the village clock 

When he crossed the bridge into Medford town 

Doubtless the hour was right, but Mr. Longfellow was 
thirty-five years ahead of time, by poetic license. To 
be historically correct, read hereafter, by the villagers' 
clocks, and do no injustice to the famous poem. 

Before the rooster's downfall the second Medford bell 
was safely lowered, and with the clock had a resting 
time. At the completion of the new Unitarian meeting- 
house (for such it was still called) both clock and bell 
were placed in its steeple for fifty-four years more of asso- 
ciated service. 

But by this time the style of meeting-house architec- 
ture had undergone a change, and Medford people fol- 
lowed the " fashion " and " steepled church edifices " 



came into vogue. There had also come a varying 
thought in the religious belief of the people, sufficient to 
require several houses of worship. The great meeting- 
house on the hill, with its " tower from the ground" was 
the last built by municipal appropriation. State and 
church being separated, each church organization must 
build for itself,. and according to its taste and means. 
That they did so may be seen in the illustrated pages 
340-41-42 in Brooks' History of Medford. These views 
are worth a careful study. They show a sturdy charac- 
ter, sensible and careful construction, architectural taste, 
both elaborate and modest, in all. 

In that of the "Second Congregational Meeting- 
house, 1824," we find the first of the "storied steeples " 
built in Medford. Note the colonnaded front with its 
wreathed entablature; also the consoles under the slop- 
ing roof cornice. But we see none of this upon the 
sides of the structure. Its windows show circular tops, 
but this may have been only exterior blinds. But the 
four-storied steeple, with its massive urns, clock dials 
and louvers, its final section octagonal and domed, all 
show the skill of an architect, and set the style of the 
next five to be built in Medford. 

Next was the " First Parish Meeting-house (Unitarian) 
1839," a little larger on the ground; here again a colon- 
nade of four detached columns and four pilasters. A 
similar treatment of the sides shows it to be classic 
Greek, in its lines almost severe- But its tower was one 
worth seeing. In the gable beneath, was a circular 
window whose sash bars resembled the equator, parallels 
and meridians of the map of the hemispheres, and en- 
closed in a wreath of carved woodwork. The first story, 
in which was the clock, resembled the die of a monu- 
ment, and each cornice had a gabled pediment, each 
corner surmounted with the conventional honeysuckle in 
carving, as was each corner of the building itself. More 
elaborate was the belfry colonnade above the clock, 
whose four dials were encircled by a carved wreath. 



Next above the belfry was an octagon story with a fluted 
pillar at each corner, and this was topped by a circular 
section, also pillared and domed. Both these had an 
ornamental metallic cresting at the edge of the cornice. 
Whether intentional or not, the artist shows the vanes 
(similar in appearance) of these two towers pointing in 
opposite directions. An idea of the size of these four 
columns may be had from the following, told by one of 
the workmen who assisted at its building: Accidentally 
dropping his hammer therein, he procured a rope and 
lowered a boy down inside, who securing it was safely 
hoisted out. 

Of the three other views. mentioned, the"Universalist, 
1832 "shows the colonnade effect in four pilasters, and 
an unspired steeple of two stories with diminutive turrets 
at the four corners, while the" Methodist Meeting-house, 
1844," nas but a single-storied and four-gabled cupola, 
with larger and taller corner turrets. By 1849 we find 
the " Mystic Church, Congregational " following in the 
steps of its mother, with a colonnaded front of four 
Corinthian pilasters (still recognizable in the present edi- 
fice) and a circular window, similar but larger than that 
of the First Parish. Unlike either, it had no steeple of 
any sort, and we may put the time of its erection as 
about that of the decadence of steeple building, for the 
fashion was to change. 

Thus far we have written of the tower, the turret and 
steeple, and their erection and use in connection with 
the meeting-house, now by custom (also changeable) 
called church, and so since 1849. 

As these of the various faiths were erected, there was 
no occasion for others until the growth of the town 
toward its border lines made it, and by that time the 
"fashion " had changed and the tower came into its own 
again. St. Mary's, on Salem street, near Maiden line, 
whose brick tower in which is a clock paid for by Med- 
ford, was the first to build. Then Grace church, out- 
growing its wooden chapel of 1850, acquired largely 



through the munificence of Mrs. Ellen Shepherd Brooks 
its beautiful stone church with "ivy mantled tower." In 
'72 the First Methodist and the First Baptist, and in '73 
Trinity Methodist and the Congregational (both the 
latter at West Medford and new organizations) erected 
new houses of worship — a remarkable record for two 
successive years. All these were of wood ; all had the 
features of a corner tower and belfry, with spires varying 
from forty-eight to one hundred and forty feet in height. 
In three the town placed public clocks, at the expense 
of about six hundred dollars each. 

In 1876, the two Congregational churches near Med- 
ford square united, and enlarged and remodeled the 
building on Salem street, erecting a corner tower, belfry 
and spire. To it was removed the first clock bought by 
the town (in '70), with its associated and former political 
bell, where they still remain in service. Previously, both 
had been in the tower of the High street edifice, erected 
in i860, replacing the " Second Congregational Meeting- 
house, 1824," burned in i860. Sold to the Roman Catho- 
lics, little change was made in exterior, only the closing 
of the louvers of the belfry and the substitution of a 
gilded cross for the weather-vane on the spire. It was 
told that a bit of pleasant repartee occurred between the 
Mystic Church pastor and the parish priest on one occa- 
sion. The former, in passing, accosted the latter, who 
in his robes was overlooking the work, with "Ah ! what 
are you doing now ? " and got the reply, " Sure, we are 
taking down the emblem of Protestantism and putting 
in its place that of Christianity." We never heard that 
there was any extended argument over the matter, and 
venture the opinion, that however convenient it may be 
to know the way the wind blows, a church spire is an 
inappropriate place for an ever shifting wind vane. Yet 
two such remain today. Four have been removed by de- 
structive fire and in rebuilding have not been replaced. 
One of these was at the time of its placing styled " the 
golden gate," because of its resemblance in shape to the 
old-style farm gate, made by balancing a tree upon a 


pivot, with its interwoven branches closing the space 
below it. It was eight feet in length and over one hun- 
dred and fifty feet in the air, on the Methodist church 
on Salem street. The tall tower of this (its third house of 
worship) was rectangular, sixteen by twenty-two feet, 
and its slated spire (surmounting an open belfry), a wedge 
six feet in width at the top. It was the architect's de- 
sign to have the iron spindle, on which the vane swung, 
at the front end of this ridge, but the builders suited 
their own convenience, placing it in the middle. 

In 1885 the vane became damaged, the "butt of the 
log " slanted downward and appeared likely to fall. To 
add to the danger, several slates near the apex bad be- 
come loosened and hung by one nail in an angular posi- 
tion, one directly over the side entrance door. Being 
one of the -* committee on repairs " who could find none 
willing to undertake the job, the writer, with no previous 
experience as steeplejack, undertook its removal and re- 
pair himself. Building a scaffolding of two tiers on all 
sides, on timbers projecting from the belfry floor and 
about the clock dials, made a starting place for the up- 
ward climb of the eastern side of the wedge. Three 
stagings were made by bolting brackets on the spire, two 
men outside and two inside doing the work. The fourth 
depended on the strength of nails and skillful driving, to 
sustain the weight of two men and apparatus. Three 
feet higher was the ridge on which we stood. Clinging 
to the iron spindle, we sawed off an iron set-screw, releas- 
ing the four-branched cardinal, and lashed the vane to a 
stout pole by which it was lifted higher and off the 
supporting pivot. 

It was our first experience "on the pinnacle of the 
temple"; strict attention to the business in hand allowed 
no inclination to cast ourselves down — there were two 
of us — and we had little time to admire the view. About 
a dozen ascents finished our work, and we got safely 
through it. The gilders that replaced the vane and car- 
dinals left the latter in wrong position, and they never 
told the truth afterward. 



The public clock was in the base of the spire, whose 
broad sides presented a great exposure to the winds. 
The weights that propelled its mechanism were huge 
wooden boxes filled with ledge stone, the larger some 
six feet in height. Far up near the apex were the 
sheaves over which extended the chains to which the 
weights were attached, and whose pivots sometimes 
needed lubrication by the care taker. As a chain is no 
stronger than its weakest link, the fact of that enormous 
weight hanging over his head as he turned the crank 
numerous times in theweekly winding was far from assur- 
ing. But care takers came and went, and so did the 
worshipers pass in and out for thirty-two years. Like 
the cathedral lamps of Pisa they swung to and fro in 
that Medford tower, but there was no Medford Galileo 
watching their oscillations, for few ever saw them or 
sensed the overhanging danger. 

But the end came on Saturday evening, August 19, 
1905, when Medford had all at once three incendiary 
fires. That in this church spread so rapidly that prac- 
tically nothing could be removed from it. The tall 
tower formed a flue up which the flames sped to attack 
the lofty spire. No set piece of pyrotechnic display was 
so destructively gorgeous as that presented to our vision 
when we arrived and found Salem street roped off for 
safety. The wall and roof covering entirely burned 
away, the heavier timbers, even to the apex of the wedge, 
with vane glittering in the intense heat, stood wreathed 
in flame and burning to their certain fall. Attacked by 
the upward draught of flame, the weight boxes burst 
asunder, and down came a cascade of rocks, and also the 
clock and bell. 

While looking on, and thinking of the two-year struggle 
we had to pay the heavy mortgage of many years' stand- 
ing, which was a part of its early adornment, we were 
arovised by a hand on our shoulder, and the words, 

"Well, Mr. , you'll never stand up there again." It 

was the painter who assisted in the repair described. 


It has been remarked that "what people do not know 
does not hurt," but it might have. We may trust no 
other such menace exists as was ended that night. 

In rebuilding, the Methodists located elsewhere and 
built partially of stone, with a corner tower of stone, but 
of lesser height. In intervening years the Universalists 
remodeled theirs, discarding the steeple and adding a 
corner tower. At Tufts College, in the 80s, Goddard 
Chapel was built of stone from the slate ledge nearby. 
It has a lofty Lombardic tower which contains the new 
college bell, and its location on the hill makes it visible 
in all directions. 

In '96 Trinity Methodist built its second house, with 
two towers. The larger at the modest height of sixty- 
five feet carries the " emblem of Christianity," seen as a 
cross from any point of view. In the same year were 
erected the Baptist Church nearby and the Hillside 
Universalist, both of which have the corner tower as a 
notable feature of construction. 

St. Joseph's, on High street, is of brick, and its lofty 
tower has tourelles at its corners, of the same enduring 
material. Five crosses gleam in the sunlight on this. 

Destroyed by fire, the classic edifice of the Unitarians 
has been replaced by a more modern one of stone, whose 
tower has a castellated coping, and on whose low spire 
is perched a cock, said to be u a scriptural emblem." 
This is the third church edifice to stand on this spot. 

Another fire left the Congregationalists of West Med- 
ford homeless: not friendless, however, as while the 
flames were raging came offers of open doors from their 
neighbors. A new church home of Weymouth granite 
was ere long erected on High street. Its tower of 
modest height contains the public clock and the re-cast 
bell that " went through fire and water." No lofty spire 
surmounts it, but four graceful turrets of stone at its 
corners give it an attractive finish, which is enhanced 
by the stairway tower of the chapel. 

At South Medford, the first and second homes of the 




Union Congregational embodied the same feature of the 
corner tower, though not in so marked a degree. Even 
the little chapel at Wellington was in " fashion," and 
had a little open belfry on the corner of its roof, which 
in time housed the city bell. 

St. Clement's, in modern stucco, has its square tower 
of Italian look. St. Raphael's is in Spanish mission 
style and has no bell tower, but a most unique ventilat- 
ing turret centrally on its roof sustaining a tall gilded 
cross. Even the smallest, that of Shiloh, has its open 
cupola that might hold a bell. 

The Hillside Methodist has its tower and bell ; the 
South Medford Baptist, however, in its building never 
incorporated the feature of tower, turret or steeple. Two 
others, at present in temporary structures, have none. 

So far, in our walk about our home Zion, i. e. Medford, 
and telling the towers therof we have dealt with those 
of a religious character. Counties have often incor- 
porated this feature in their court houses, as did Middle- 
sex at Cambridge and Lowell, even having two on the 
jail at the latter city. Medford never had a semblance 
of one on the good old tow?i hall, though one of lofty 
style was proposed for the new one, nearly disrupting the 
town. But in the houses of the fire department it was 
once a useful feature. They may still be seen in the 
Central, Salem street and South Medford stations in 
brick, and the wooden tower at Glenwood. That at 
Salem street is peculiarly graceful in design. 

To its schoolhouses the feature of a cupola that might 
contain a bell was but sparingly applied, save in one in- 
stance, that of the first Brooks School at West Medford. 
A description of this may be found in Vol. XIX of the 

The tower often lends itself to the utility of a factory, 
but Medford had few of such. We have been told of 
one, the Stearns oil mill, that had a detached chimney 
some fifty feet high that in time was moved across the 
"branch canal " in its upright position, securely too, to a 
new location, certainly quite a feat to perform. The 


same Mr. Stearns had a windmill tower of brick, the ruin 
of which may still be seen beside College avenue. With 
its revolving sails it was an interesting sight, especially 
when in operation. In sight of that was another tower 
(once a windmill), the old powder house just over the 
line in Somerville. 

Harvard College erected on the hill beside Winthrop 
street in 1850 a tower, or cairn of rock, only a few years 
ago removed. This was for a meridian mark, and due 
north from the observatory at Cambridge. 

Even the most casual observer will note the difference 
in the dwellings of any town, and experienced ones can 
tell nearly the time of their erection. The central 
cupolas came in fashion in the early fifties, and to 
enumerate them would make an extended list. At about 
the same time an L-shaped house with a four-story tower 
at its internal angle was the correct thing, as note the 
Smith residence (the home of the preceptress of the 
famous Mystic Hall Seminary), the Wood residence 
near by and the Chapin house on the hill. Placed upon 
its eastern front was the elaborately treated tower of 
Thatcher Magoun. Along in the nineties builders dis- 
covered that a corner bay-window added to the attrac- 
tiveness of a " living room," and very soon carried it up 
higher. To solve the question of desirable roof, some 
went even higher. Soon the idea elaborated itself into 
octagonal and circular forms, with steeply pointed roofs 
terminated with ornamental finials of wood or metal. 
When examples of this style became more numerous, a 
certain newspaper writer held it up to ridicule, in an 
almost scurrilous article in a Boston daily. In the years 
that have elapsed has come the tenement house, into 
which numerous families are crowded, with little privacy 
or home-like surroundings. 

Happily, the once cheaply constructed "three flatter" 
is now prohibited, but the home-seeker of moderate 
means finds it difficult to attain his single dwelling house, 
and did even before the present inflated cost began. 

r ~ 




Turning from these to others we allude to the steel 
trestle of the Radio Corporation on College hill. But 
four feet square, it is three hundred feet high and held 
in position by several guys. It is to be hoped that it 
never may become a menace to travelers or the locality. 

Another tower, of little beauty, but for a time of some 
utility, was the water tower for high service, erected at 
Elm street, near Wright's pond, as auxiliary to the 
Medford water supply. It was a cylindrical structure of 
iron boiler plate, into which the water of the pond was 
pumped for a few years, and was approximately fifty 
feet high. Its use was discontinued and it was taken 
down when the city's supply was taken over by the 
Metropolitan Commission. 

There are two observation towers in Medford, one of 
private ownership, the other of municipal. The latter is 
the circular stone tower in the park at Hastings Heights. 
It stands at the crown of the ledge and is about thirty 
feet high. A circular iron staircase gives access to the 
concrete floor within its castellated battlement. From 
this a superb view of Medford and surrounding country 
may be had. It is one of the creations of Medford's 
park commission. A Medford engineer, Mr. E. P. 
Adams, designed it, and two Medford men, Messrs. 
Byron and Rowe, constructed it, certainly creditable, to 
them all. 

But higher and more remote is the great steel tower 
on the so-called Ram-head hill, erected by the late 
General S. C. Lawrence, and commonly called the 
Lawrence Observatory. The top of this hill is variously 
stated as being two hundred and five or two hundred 
and twenty-nine feet above sea level. The tower itself 
consists of four steel fifteen-inch I beams, set diagonally 
at the corners and firmly secured to the ledge. At every 
floor these are connected by horizontal beams of steel 
and in every space diagonal steel ties firmly brace the 
structure. It is thirty-four feet square at the base and 
sixteen at the top. There are six floors of the best of 


wood, the uppermost eighty-one feet from the base and 
reached by five flights of stairs, in all one hundred and 
thirty-four steps. There, stands a flagstaff of thirty-five 
feet, and over this floor in summer an awning is spread. 
It is easily approached by the way of Rural avenue, and 
is about a mile from Winthrop square, and nearer the 
Winchester boundary line. It was erected by the con- 
tracting firm of Woodbury & Leighton, and its architect 
a Medford man, Mr. Lyman Sise. Its exact location 
precisely expressed is latitude 42° 26' 18. 8" north and 
longitude 71° 7' 16.2' west. On a clear day, Monadnock 
is visible in the northwest, 3,170 feet high. 

A little north of west is Wachusett, 2,018 feet, in cen- 
tral Massachusetts. Blue hill, the highest point in east- 
ern Massachusetts, 635 feet, crowned by the Rotch Ob- 
servatory lies beyond the Memorial hall at Cambridge. 

A winter visit to this tower is interesting, though not 
always comfortable, but one in early summer will reveal 
a scene of wonderful beauty as one looks down upon 
the billowy waving green of the surrounding forest, the 
land-locked lakes of Winchester, the neighboring Fells 
and over the home city to those beyond. One can trace 
the moving railway trains by a line of dissolving smoke 
or escaping steam, but their noise is little in evidence. 
Though private property, its public-spirited owner made 
the public welcome to enjoy it, and it is a sad com- 
mentary on the manners (or lack thereof) of some visi- 
tors that notices are posted requesting visitors not to 
deface the same. To such extent some of the youth 
Medford spends so much to educate carried their ill con- 
duct, there has been a possibility of its closure to every- 
body. The city's tower in Hastings park was even 
worse treated, and now closed by an iron gate, can only 
be entered by procuring a key at a neighboring dwelling. 
Even one of our church buildings has suffered from such 
indignity, and its entrance porch is closed by an iron 
gate, excepting only the time of public worship. 

We have made a long story of the Medford towers, 





but we recall the closing words of our text taken from 
Holy Writ, " tell it to the generation following." For 
the information of those coming after, it is written. On 
the printed page it may be preserved. Those we have 
described have been not only useful, but memorials of 
service, of civic ambition (perhaps of pride), during two 
and a quarter centuries of a people who served well their 
day and generation. 

The spirit of vandalism and disrespect is abroad 
among the young, as above shown. That such should 
be restrained, primarily by home and parental teaching, 
influence and example is evident from depredations 
committed within sight of the military and police quar- 
ters. Especially tell it to the generation following. 


There were two such structures at the Royall house. 
One, doubtless the older, was a lookout-room upon the 
roof at its southern end. The exact date of its construc- 
tion we may not say, but certainly between the years 
1739 and 1775, and more probably prior to 1754, and 
while the location was a part of old Charlestown. 
Features still in evidence indicate that it was a part of 
the final construction made by the younger Colonel 
Royall. This lookout-room was the interior of a " cupola," 
as the modern term has it, one side of which was formed 
by the brick wall between the massive chimneys which 
overshadowed it. It was doubtless as elaborately fin- 
ished on its exterior as was the house itself. The views 
we present are those by Mr. Hooper in " The Evolution 
of the Royall House," for the showing of its locality and 
means of access, and not of architectural detail. 

From its four windows the lord of the manor could 
view his extensive domain, or the overseer the numerous 
slaves under his eye. Through the one in the brick wall 
marked "c," it is said, Molly Stark looked anxiously on 


5 t 


the eventful day of Bunker hill. This "cupola" must 
have been removed prior to 1870, as on July 13 of that 

year a writer in the 
Boston Transcript 
tells of climbing "the 
narrow stairs to the 
roof, where by cling- 
ing to the battlement 
wall for support, a 
beautiful view may be 
obtained " of sur- 
rounding towns and 
" even Boston." 
But more lofty in itself, more imposing in appearance, 
faultless in its architecture and more commodious within 
was the tower (for such it was) called the summerhouse, 


which with its one hundred and forty years had the dis- 
tinction of remaining intact the longest of any in Med- 
ford, for whatever purpose built. Drake described it as 

A veritable curiosity in its way, placed upon an artificial mound 
with two terraces, and reached by broad nights of red sandstone 
steps. It is octagonal in form, with a bell-shaped roof, surmounted 
by a cupola, on which is a figure of Mercury. 

The Transcript writer above quoted was a little astray 
in his mythology, saying, 

It is surmounted by a large carved wooden statue of Mars, 
at present minus arms and somewhat bent from a dignified and 
perpendicular position. A trap-door in the floor being opened 
discloses underneath a spacious cellar, formerly used for the 
depository of the summer's supply of ice. Here the inmates of the 
mansion in its palmy days used to come in the hot summer weather 
to enjoy whatever breeze there was stirring, and perhaps experience 
an additional coolness from the frigid storeroom below. 

He added something about the presence of a huge punch- 
bowl. We are fortunate in being able to present a pho- 
tographic view of it, taken in the days of its decadence; 
and photography is truthful. The mound on which it 
stood may still be seen, and maybe the foundation is 
still in the ground. A somewhat apocryphal story has 
been told, that under this tower was a dungeon for the 
punitive confinement of misbehaving slaves. Of this 
we say not. 

At the time of this tower's demolition some portions 
of it were preserved, to serve as patterns for future res- 
toration. Only three years since, two of the pilasters 
and a window were set up near the new memorial wall, 
only to be ruthlessly disfigured and the window de- 
stroyed by the lawless young element that disgraces our 
city, the forerunners of the Bolsheviki of Medford ! 

This tower probably antedated that of the third meet- 
ing-house by at least twenty years and survived it forty. 
Its owner left it, never to return, just before the siege of 


Mil :l l ^i^WMf 

^■.?->'..''. vfcfc? 






Boston began. Dr. Tufts of Medford took it in charge, 
and the house became the headquarters of General 
Stark during those memorable days. Ninety-five years 
later, when we first saw it, its appearance was impressive. 
The figure of Mercury (not Mars) still bore the caduceus, 
and the feet were still winged, and in its hastening atti- 
tude the Transcript writer mistook for undignified posi- 
tion, it probably faced the wind. We understand that 
the remains of this figure of the swift messenger of the 
gods is still preserved among the curios of the Royall 

[Read at meeting of Medford Historical Society April IS, 1921] 

At the present time, with the observance of Patriots' 
day, it is well for Medford people to consider seme of 
the natural features of one hundred and forty-six years 
ago. Perhaps others are so doing in the various towns 
through which the two riders passed, for William Dawes 
is now being remembered, though there was no poet to 
tell of his ride. 

Longfellow wrote that Revere rode over " the bridge 
into Medford town," which is all very fine; but he really 
rode into Medford near the top of Winter hill. 

Do those that read the poem know how nearly Med- 
ford came to being left out of the ride that night? If it 
was twelve by the villagers' clocks when he rode over the 
river, he must have spent a little of the closing hour of 
the 1 8th in Medford, if we can credit the somewhat 
famous poem. 

It .was a practically straight road through old Charles- 
town to old Menotomy, where, in changing his plan, he 
would have turned squarely to the left, and riding but a 
short distance, reached the Cooper tavern on the Cam- 
bridge road which led up the valley of Sucker brook to 
Lexington. From the top of Winter hill the Menojomy 


road closely borders the Medford boundary, to near that 
old powder-house the royal forces had then recently 

While still in Charlestown, beyond Winter hill, Revere 
caught sight of some horsemen he thought to be British 
officers, and so did not continue in that direct route. To 
lessen his chances of capture he took the right-hand 
j*oad, making a detour which a little farther on took him 
into " Medford town," but the bridge was a mile and a 
half away. 

We of today know the road well, but a backward look 
at it as he rode over it and aroused another town, may 
be of interest. It was the u publique country road" of 
that day. There were but four branching from it. These 
were the roads to Cambridge, to Maiden and two to Wo- 
burn. They are now known as Harvard, Salem, W r oburn 
and Grove streets. It might better be considered as the 
earliest road to the north, by calling Woburn street its 
continuation, and High street (onward from Woburn (a 
branch, or road to Menotomy, then a part of Cambridge. 
All others were simply lanes, or ways to the scattered 
farmhouses of Medford, which was but a little town of less 
than a thousand inhabitants. And it was a little town, 
too, even with the addition (twenty years before) of the 
section of Charlestown which moved the boundary from 
the river to the present lines. Perhaps this may ac- 
count for the poet's geographical error. But really, if 
the grouping of dwellings makes a village, we can excuse 
the poet's mistake, for there were comparatively few, for 
which there was good reason. 

A careful scaling of the map of Medford (and the 
course of the road is the same today) places Winter 
brook and Tufts square at approximately a half mile 
from the boundary line which is near the top of the hill. 
A half mile further and Revere had passed the Cam- 
bridge road (at his left) and crossed Two-penny brook, 
both more consequential streams than now. Near the 
latter was a large farmhouse, which, fifty years ago, was 


a part of the well known Mystic house. A quarter mile 
farther on, at the left, there loomed up in his sight, stately 
and grand, a three-storied house with its several out- 
buildings. It was in the midst of extensive grounds, and 
far "back from the village street." This will be easily 
recognized as the estate of Colonel Isaac Royall, and 
knowing of his Tory proclivities, it is unlikely that 
Revere stopped there but rode quickly by. 

Another quarter mile brought him to Fish-house lane 
(the present South street), the old way to the fording 
place. A few houses were there, among them the 
Admiral Vernon tavern, and the river and bridge lay 
ahead. Another quarter and he had passed over it, by 
the Royal Oak tavern, and turning squarely to the left, 
he sped on. That quarter mile brought him through 
the densest settled part of Medford, to where we meet 
tonight; but it wasn't called Governors avenue then. If 
we can credit the poet's words about the hour, the good 
people of Medford were enjoying their midnight rest, 
when, having passed Colonel Isaac by, he, as he says in 
his deposition (or rather letter to Dr. Belknap), " in 
Medford, aroused the captain of the minute-men," in 
this case another Isaac, surnamed Hall. 

Perhaps Captain Hall, in his night-cap, poked his head 
out the chamber window to know what the unseasonable 
racket was about, and he soon learned. It wasn't a time 
for much ceremony, military salutes or long stories, and 
the rider was soon on his way, having covered just half 
of his extra detour through Medford. In the next half 
mile he had passed the new meeting-house, whose old 
bell perhaps was already ringing, the old home of the 
venerable Parson Turell, who was still living, and a 
house older still beyond it, and probably next a smaller 
one, to which, ere another midnight hour, the dead and 
wounded would be brought — victims of the bloody work 
ahead. That brought him over the brook and up the 
hill to where the first meeting-house had been. 

The roads divided a little further on at its top. He 



kept to the left. We have no idea it was a silent ride. 
He doubtless shouted, " Wake up, turn out, the regulars 
are coming! " as he rode hastily along. Soon the lights 
twinkled in the windows and the guns were taken down 
(all probably in readiness) and the village was astir be- 
hind him. Another quarter mile and he had passed 
over Whitmore brook, and a little further, a place where 
we " stop, look and listen " now. He did not, nor did 
people, need to there till sixty years later. Another 
quarter and he passed Rev. Edward Brooks', and still 
another made three miles and a half through Medford; 
then over Wear bridge into Charlestown again. Another 
half-mile (about a quarter of it in Menotomy) brought 
him to the Cooper tavern. There, he turned to the 
right toward Lexington, into the course he deflected from 
at the top of Winter hill, but still ahead in the game. 

The time we have referred to (1775) was midway be- 
tween Medford's settling and today. Its population the 
following year was nine hundred and sixty-seven. As 
an immediate result of the alarm thus given, fifty-nine 
Medford men responded and were in the first of a struggle 
that lasted seven years. It was a time when people dated 
important papers as of the fifteenth year of his majesty's 
reign. The next year they ceased so to do. The pub- 
lic, or town, records show little change other than this. 
At the close of the Revolution Medford had fourteen 
less people than in '75, and in fifty years its growth was 
but slow, and changes in the body politic were slow. 
But how about the body physical ? By this we mean 
the visible and material town, as seen in its land, its 
waters, its woods and streets, its dwellings and public 
buildings. How many dwellings along the way Revere 
rode remain today? How many in our territorial 
boundary? Certainly the Royall house, possibly one on 
the slope of Winter hill, — perhaps that which sheltered 
the Baroness Reidezel after Burgoyne's defeat at Sara- 
toga, — a very few on Main street, toward Moore square, 
may also be. 



Captain Hall's and the one adjoining, the brick house 
of Jonathan Wade, and the Magoun cottage, opposite 
First Parish church, are also authentic. A part of the 
modernized Home for the Aged, and perhaps its unpre- 
tentious neighbor across the brook, and perhaps another 
on the hill slope. 

The Bradshaw house at Hastings lane and its three 
neighbors opposite, Dr. Wilkins' near Brooks street, and 
(may be) the Wyatt-Cheney cottage, opposite Warren, 
are all we can name. None of the several homes of the 
Brooks families are now in evidence; even the stately 
mansion (erected in 1802-6) disappeared eight years ago. 
Time, with its agents of neglect, decay and fire, has dealt 
harshly with all. How many Medford had that night we 
cannot say; perhaps a hundred is a liberal estimate. Of 
the outlying ones, the brick house of Captain Peter 
Tufts, that of Nathaniel W^ade, the Rogers house on 
Cross street and the Richard Sprague house on old Ship 
street, we are sure of. There is also one at the end of 
Canal street, old when the canal was built, and possibly 
a few near Washington square, but with these we are 
not familiar. Here and there, an old cellar, nature is 
doing her best to obliterate, like that on High near 
Woburn street, are mute reminders of those days long 

But out of the homes that were there, w T hose occupants 
were aroused by Revere's midnight outcry, went fifty- 
nine determined men. From all directions they came — 
over the river and across the brooks, and up the hill they 
went, and across the river and the plain of Charlestown 
to old Menotomy, to follow and harass the invading host. 
Just where they made a stand and met the retreating 
foe, we cannot say. Perhaps they joined the Danvers 
company that made a forced march thither as it came 
through Medford. Who were they, do you ask ? Listen ! 
yes, give them the honor due the brave, but who can not, 
will nevermore, answer "Here!" Perhaps none here 
tonight bear these names, but let us stand while that old 





Medford roll of honor is called : 

Captain Isaac Hall 
Lieutenant Caleb Brooks 
Ensign Stephen Hall 
Sergeant Thomas Pritchard 
Sergeant Isaac Tufts 
Sergeant Moses Hall 
Corporal John Tufts 
Corporal Gershom Teel 
Corporal Jonathan Greenleaf 
Drummer Timothy Hall 
Fifer William Farning 
Privates : — 
David Vinton 
John Bucknam 
Isaac Watson 
Jonathan Laurence 
Jonathan Davis 
Abel Richardson 
James Tufts, Jr. 
Samuel Tufts, 3d 
Andrew Floyd 
Benjamin Floyd 
Andrew Blanchard 
Samuel Tufts 
John Francis, Jr. 
Paul Dexter 
John Smith 
Abel Butterfield 
Josiah Cutter 
John Kemp 

Eleazer Putnam 
James Bucknam, Jr. 
Aaron Crowell 
Jonathan Tufts 
Benjamin Pierce 
Thomas Wakefield 
Jonathan Teel 
Aaron Blanchard 
Richard Cole 
William Binford 
Thomas Bradshaw 
Daniel Tufts 
Peter Tufts, Jr. 
Ebenezer Tufts 
Isaac Cooch 
Daniel Conery 
David Hadley 
Jacob Bedin 
Richard Paine 
William Polley 
Peter Conery 
Joseph Clefton 
Samuel Hadley, Jr. 
Moses Hadley 
John Callender 
John Clarke 
Andrew Bradshaw 
Thomas Savels 
Francis Hall 
Benjamin Savils 

On their return Madam Brooks (who had watched 
from her attic window as the red-coated host came back 
down the valley) had the big kettle swung over a fire 
out of doors and prepared chocolate for these Medford 
men's refreshing — the tea had gone into Boston harbor. 

But one was mortally wounded, his comrades bore him 
home to die, he the " only son of his mother and she was 
a widow." Both youth and age was the toll taken from 
Medford that day. Of the latter, was a man of seventy 
who had one son among the Medford minute men, and 
another in the Danvers company. The latter, who bore 


the father's name, was wounded and brought to Medford, 
whither his wife came to care for him until his recovery. 
But, killed at Menotomy, the father's lifeless body was 
brought to Medford, to the home from whence a few 
hours before he had gone to the fray. In his youth he 
had been in the expedition that captured the " Gibraltar 
of America," Louisburg. But (as Miss Wild says it) 
" though by age exempt, and having sons in the ranks, 
he showed his Putnam spunk and went with the rest." 
He had been for ten vears a resident of Medford, his 
home probably in the valley opposite Medford's first 

Gold stars are placed on the service flags and on the 
memorials of today. Certainly they should be beside 
the names of these two, William Polley, Henry Putnam, 
who went out from their homes in Medford on that 19th 
of April, to their death, on the first Patriots' day. 

We were recently shown an old letter which we think 
interesting because of its subject and date. It is written 
on a single sheet of the old style and size letter paper,- 
and bears the following superscription: 

To the Selectmen 

of the Town of 


The sheet, carefully folded and lastly tucked in, was 
sealed with red wax about the size of a nickel It reads 
as follows: 

Medford, July 19, 1771. 
Gentlemen — 

Mr Thompson will deliver you a Velvet Cushion, 
which I imported from London for the Desk of y e Meeting House 
in this place, & which I beg may be accepted as a mark of y e high 
regard I shall ever retain for the Town of Medford 
I am w th great respect 
Gent n 

Your most obed 1 

h'ble servt 

W. Pepperell. 

24 AN EDITOR'S TROUBLES. [March, 1921.] 

William Pepperell was of Kittery, Maine (then part 
of Massachusetts) and was son-in-law of Colonel Isaac 
Royall and had been father-in-law of Parson Turell for 
eleven years, the marriage of his daughter Jane to the 
Medford minister being her third matrimonial adventure. 
It seems that sixteen years before, Colonel Royall had 
given the town a Bible (folio) which proved an innova- 
tion. Received with thanks voted. Four years later 
a vote was passed for its public reading, and, as above 
seen, sixteen years later, and in a new and more stately 
meeting-house came the gift of the cushion of velvet 
on which to lay the Holy Book. Doubtless Pepperell's 
aesthetic tastes had been offended by the sight of the 
bare "desk " during his visits to Medford, and thus sought 
to better things. 

Twenty-three years later the town purchased a "green 
velvet one," which after twenty years of use was replaced 
by another. This time in the general refurbishing, the 
pulpit itself changed color, and curtains were added. 
This was accomplished by the " women-folks," who took 
one man into their confidence, who donated a new pulpit 
Bible in two volumes. 

And so for a century and a half innovations have 

We copy from an old diary of 1766: 

Never let me write again to the Printers of Boston 
News Papers for they are all Knaves, Liars, Villains to 
serve their Int'rest & when they appear most Friendly 
have the most of the Devil in their Hearts. 

Moral — Patronize home industry. The Register is 
printed in Medford. 

! '"^:r-> -am off. 

U Z 

X ^ 

< z 

aj * = 
O u = = 

_ > —• 


O £ £ -3 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIV. JUNE, 1921. No. 2. 


SIXTY years have passed since our nation's "foes of 
its own household " lifted treasonable hands for its 
destruction. Of the uprising for its defence we know. 
Ere a week had passed Medford men had rallied in 
response to the President's call and were on their way to 
the capital. They were in service first for three months, 
then "for three years or the war," and still others, for 
"rebellion widened into war on gigantic scale." Four 
years the contest raged; then came the day of Appo- 
mattox. The government of the people, by the people 
and for the people, though assured, was to experience 
the difficult and dangerous period of reconstruction. 
After four years of absence, the national flag was re- 
stored to Sumter's battlements ; but two days later, the 
bullet of treason robbed the nation of its executive head 
and added to the gravity of the situation. Placed in the 
chair of state by a terrible tragedy, the new executive 
betrayed his high trust and made " treason ... a crime 
before which all other crimes sink into insigniflcance,"only 
"a difference of political opinion." Bleeding and sorely 
tried, after a war exceeding those of history, a new danger 
confronted the nation, that of unsound reconstruction. 
In such a time the Grand Army of the Republic came 
into being and soon became national in extent. On 
August 21, 1 868, the charter of the Medford Post was 
issued by the Grand Commander of the Department of 
Massachusetts. Its wording is, " To all to whom these 
presents shall come, Greeting. Know ye, That^ repos- 
ing full confidence in the fidelity and patriotism of 
Comrades: Godfrey Ryder, Jr., Samuel C. Lawrence, 


Alfred Stephens, Henry H. D. Cushing, Silas F. Wild, 
Chris Plunkett, Elbridge B. Hartshorn, James A. Hervey, 
Samuel G. Jepson, John Hutchins, Thomas H. Gillard, 
J. H. Whitney, Charles H. Prentiss, Robert Ellis, Alvin 
R. Reed, they and their associates and successors are 
constituted a Post of the Grand Army of the Republic 
known as S. C. Lawrence Post, Number 66, and author- 
ized to perform all acts necessary to the ends of the 
organization." Primarily a soldiers' fraternity, it at once 
became an institution of loyalty to the government and 
a school of patriotism, a mighty reserve force. Its name 
was well and fitly chosen, a Grand Army. 

For fifty-three years Post 66, numbering in all upwards 
of four hundred, have here maintained the patriotic pur- 
pose of the organization. Fifty-two times their memorial 
services have been performed within the precincts of 
Oak Grove and the older burial places, and the com- 
rades have reverently placed their country's flag and 
floral tribute over the sleeping dust of an ever increasing 
number. Retracing their steps through the shaded 
avenues and paths of the silent city, the last volley 
is fired. Its echoes ceased, " Taps " are sounded, by 
the musicians, and as in benediction the cadences die 
away, the veterans resume the homew r ard march. Who, 
that has ever witnessed the scene, can wonder that 
though first called u Decoration Day," May 30 soon came 
to be " Memorial Day " ? or that the veterans of the Civil 
War, along with many thoughtful and patriotic citizens, 
object to its secularization and light esteem ? Though 
the language of their charter is conventional, none can 
say that the " confidence" was misplaced. Had occa- 
sion arisen, the Grand Army men would, to call, have 
answered " Here! " 

After reaching its high tide of membership, it was in- 
evitable that its numbers must decrease. It "has no 
recruiting office." During the past year, twelve — three 
in one recent w r eek — have answered the last call, leaving 
but thirty-seven names on the roll. But one of these 




appears on the charter, by coincidence, the last. Twenty- 
four, an equivalent of its resident membership, as follows, 

Charles O. Burbank Winslow Joyce 

John L. Brockway Benjamin P. Lewis 

James H. Burpee Charles W. Libby 

John E. Barrows Albert Mason 

A. D. Chickering Albert Patch 

Nason B. Cunningham Alvin R. Reed 

G. A. Delesdernier Milton F. Roberts 

Thos. F. Dwyer George K. Russell 

W. F. Elsbree Albert A. Samson 

Willard B. Emery Edward F. Smith 

Isaac H. Gardner George L/Stokell 

Edgar A. Hall Albert G. Webb 

were in the ranks and followed the colors this year to 
honor those gone before. Though their ranks are thin- 
ning, their forms less erect and tread less firm, their loy- 
alty to flag and country is true. That about a dozen is 
the average attendance at the fortnightly meeting is 
evidence of their interest, and though the flesh may be 
weak the spirit is still willing. Twenty-nine have served 
as commanders, and their enlarged portraits are arranged, 
in successive order, upon the wall of their assembly 
room, and a large collection of cabinet photos of mem- 
bers is there carefully arranged and preserved. 

Much of interest to the patriotic citizen is there to be 
seen. The national colors, the flag of the Common- 
wealth, that of the Post have a conspicuous place. 
Post 66 has the service flag of the World War with one 
blue star, as one member has the distinction to have 
served in three wars. 

In a brief visit we noticed the views of service in '61-5, 
and shuddered as we looked upon that of Andersonville 
and blushed for America's shame, for remember tkalv/as 
of our misguided brethren of the South, but still our 
brethren. Nearby a group of five who died in prison 
or on the march, one a boyish-looking face — some 
mothers' boy. 

Behind the vice-commander's chair is a typical picture 


of the private soldier of '61-5, that cannot fail to attract 
attention and command respect, the "Boy in Blue" in 
the long overcoat and small cap, with his musket at 
" Ready," and it bears this legend : 

For what he did and dared, remember him today. 

Two years ago the Register gave the names of those 
who participated in the memorial service. It was their 
fiftieth and last march. Last year and this year and in 
the future Memorial Days there will be those who will 
deem it a privilege to convey them and vie with each other 
for the honor of doing so. This year, for the first time the 
return was by the Playstead road and High street, which 
was well. The city needs the object lesson. 

In former years the exercises of the day were closed 
by a public gathering and patriotic address in the largest 
available auditorium. Who that heard it will ever forget 
that by Rev. E. C. Bridgham in 1905 ? The " comrades " 
formerly attended the regular morning service on pre- 
ceding Sunday in some church by invitation, but their 
disabilities increasing by advancing years, the present 
arrangement has obtained. It speaks ill and looks badly 
for our boasted " civic pride," and worse for our patriotic 
spirit, that even reinforced by the affiliated organiza- 
tions and the city government, the not overlarge Mystic 
church is far from being filled on the occasion. It 
should be crowded. 

We remember the influence of this great Grand Army, 
and how in '98, South as well as North rallied under 
the one old flag for " Cuba libre," and again overseas for 
the world's safety, which includes our own national life 
and preservation. As reconstruction days followed our 
civil war, re-adjustment is following, all too slowly it may 
seem, the recent titanic struggle for world dominion. 
The danger is not past. What shall be the outcome ? 
As in '61 the foe was of our own household, so today 
America has need to beware lest " the government of the 
people, by the people and for the people " be weakened 
and assailed by race prejudice, industrial unrest fostered 

1921.] BOGUS HISTORY. 29 

by selfish agitators, the oppressions of capital and hyphen- 
ated Americanisms of various names. 

The Grand Army of the Republic has proved trtte. 


The Register has at various times alluded to Medford 
Myths, some of which, oft repeated, have been popularly 
and quite extensively accepted as veritable history. 

We have hesitated a little in using the adjective of our 
caption, as its etymology is said, in the dictionary, to be 
"doubtful"; defined as " sham," " counterfeit," and ap- 
plied to " anything spurious." One of these " myths," 
relating to a substantial brick house on old Ship street, 
was (so far as we know) unchallenged in Medford, and 
believed for forty years. Even though disputed and its 
fallacy clearly shown over twenty years ago, it is still in 
circulation, even repeated by our chief executive in pub- 
lic hearing of official character. More recently it ap- 
peared in a column of a Boston daily, which is a special 
feature of the paper. There, it did not pass unnoticed, 
as various letters to the " Nomad " proved. After re- 
viewing several such in his column, he made this 
observation : 

It is very easy to start a legend in any place concerning a point 
in its ancient and uncertain history. Make a pleasant and plausible 
assumption about a place, weave a little story about it, put it into 
print, and you have •* history." Thus, apparently, Rev. Charles 
Brooks wrote the history of the "old Cradock house." Up to that 
time it had been locally known as " the old Fort," from its solid 
construction and the loop holes in the attic. It took only a few 
years to transform the k ' old Fort" into the "Cradock mansion." 
All subsequent writers, until the students of the Historical Society 
began to look into the matter, simply repeated Mr. Brooks' asser- 
tion. What are " historians" for, except to follow one another's 
tracks and repeat one another's errors? But there is no use in real 
historical research unless you tell the truth ; and though the gentle- 
men of the Medford Historical Society greatly regretted to dispel a 
treasured local illusion, they had to do it. 

In the above quotation, the " Nomad " asks a perti- 


nent query, and his somewhat conditional reply is well 
illustrated by Mr. Brooks' successor, Mr. Usher, in his 
work of 1886, a practical reprint of the " History" of 1855. 

But who were the gentlemen of the Historical Society, 
the iconoclasts who assailed the bogus history, and es- 
tablished beyond doubt the identity of the house in 
question? In reply we name three: Hon. William dishing 
Wait, in his article on " Maps of Medford," Mr. Walter 
H. Cushing, in ''The Cradock Farm," both read at Society 
meetings and published in the Register. Then, Mr. 
John H. Hooper took up the " burden of proof," by a 
careful search in the Middlesex Registry. The result of 
his work, read before the Society, preserved on our 
pages (Vol. VII, pp. 49-64), fixes the erection of the so- 
called " Cradock house "as at about 1680 (not 1634) at 
the instance of Peter Tufts (commonly called Captain 
Peter), a leading citizen of Medford at that time. Both 
gentlemen before named agree that Mr. Hooper's work 
fully establishes as a fact what they only made as asser- 
tion regarding the house. 

But the question may be asked, " Why do people still 
continue to call it the Cradock house? " We can only 
reply that because of long continued habit by the many, 
and because comparatively few, even after twenty years, 
know the facts before stated. 

The Register (which of course has a limited circula- 
tion) Vol. XVIII, p. 60, on "Tufts Family Residences," 
by the editor, deals with this subject, supplementing 
Mr. Hooper's work, referring to the same for authorita- 
tive statement, and showing the fallacy of some news- 
paper criticism of his work. 

Recently the same author has in a local paper dealt 
with the same subject, which latter evidently is the cause 
of the article quoted from above, and in which it is 
stated that prior to the publication of the History of 
Medford in 1855, the name of Cradock was not attached 
to that house. 

But since the publication of the above quoted extract, 


we have found the following on page 144, Vol. 48, of 
New England Historical- Genealogical Register : 

The Oldest House in the Country 

Is there any proof, above mere conjecture, that the Cradock 
house, so-called, in Medford, Mass., is the oldest in the countM — 
or indeed that it was built by Gov. Cradock? If so, what and 
where is it? 

The above was in 1867, but there was no reply to it 
in any way that we know of, probably for the best of 
reasons, viz., there was 710 proof to be produced by any. 

And so the " pleasant and plausible assumption " was 
repeated over and over until it became commonly ac- 
cepted. We have no thought that the historian had the 
least intent of writing a misleading, incorrect or bogus 
history, nor is the present writing to detract anything 
from the historic interest of the substantial old house, 
which stands preserved today because of its reputed 
" history." 

Where in Medford did Henry Putnam live? Per- 
haps the following lines may partially answer this query: 
After his sale of his farm in Charlestown in 1765 (beyond 
the upper Mistick pond) Henry Putnam came to Medford 
and occupied a dwelling. He was then past the age of 
sixty years. In 1770 he purchased twenty-four acres of 
pasture land of William Bradshaw, the administrator 
of Jon 3 Bradshaw's estate. This pasture adjoined no 
road but was bounded "east on Jonathan Patten, north 
on Ebenezer Brooks, Jr., northwest on heirs of Samuel 
Brooks, Jr., and west by land lately of the Whitmores." 
The consideration named was £68 s i6. To reach it, 
the deed, dated in the tenth year of his majesty's reign, 
gave him " liberty of passing and repassing from the 
country road [probably Woburn street] to the premises 
in the usual way he or they shutting gates and bars." 
In the absence of plot or plan it is somewhat of a puzzle 



to locate this pasture of Henry Putnam's. But a deed 
of April 20 next following, from the same Bradshaw to 
Ebenezer Turell, for the consideration of one hundred 
and fourteen pounds, conveyed twenty acres " upland and 
meadow south by a lane, east partly by a lane and partly 
by Timothy Newell, north partly by Jona. Patten and 
partly by Henry Putnam, westerly by lately Whitmores, 
southwest by country road or any other way reputed to 
be bounded." By comparison we conclude that this 
country road was Woburn street, and the Turell pur- 
chase lay just beyond the present Wyman street, in the 
angle of the old lane or wood road, still existing and 
bordered by elm trees extending to Winthrop, formerly 
Purchase street. The latter laid out and built nearly a 
century ago was filled to grade with material from Sugar 
Loaf hill. Noting the bounds of each conveyance, we 
come to the conclusion that Putnam's twenty-four-acre 
pasture lay between the present Sarah Fuller home and 
the grim old stone lion which lies crouched on the hill 
slope opposite the Sugar Loaf. 

So much for his pasture, now for his dwelling. A 
deed from Samuel Brooks of Exeter, N. H., Gentleman 
Thomas Brooks of Medford, Gentleman and Edward 
Brooks of Medford, Clerk (for so the record reads), 

for a proper and sufficient consideration have remised released and 
forever quitclaimed . . . unto Henry Putnam of Medford aforesaid 
Gentleman in the full and peacable possesion and seizien ... all 
just right title and interest and demand whatsoever that we . . . 
ever had now have or ought to have by any means whatsoever in 
or to the estate hereafter mentioned namely the one half of a certain 
piece of land lying in Medford aforesaid and containing in the 
whole one acre and a half more or less together with the Dwelling 
House Barn Well & c thereon bounded Southerly by a highway 
Easterly on Jonathan Watson's land. Northerly on John Bishop's 
land. Westerly on land of Stephen Hall Esq r . 

[Dated Oct. 8. 1770. acknowledged before Simon Tufts J. P. 
June 2. 1772. recorded Aug. 1774.] 

There were but few " highways " in Medford a century 
and a half ago. For this "acre and a half," to be thus 
bounded by " a highway " and by land of persons named, 




it would seem most probable to lie in the valley of 
Meetinghouse brook, near and on the same side of the 
road as the present " Home for the Aged." At that 
time there was no Winthrop street. Parson Turell had 
purchased his house fifty years before, which was between 
present Rural avenue and Winthrop street. The origi- 
nal portion of the Puffer house (formerly Swan, now the 
" Home") built in 1689, was till 1872 nearer the street 
and to the brook, which left a sufficient space between 
for an acre and a half of narrow frontage (as was also 
Turell's). It seems more probable, however, that it was 
farther west on the lower ground, which was well situ- 
ated for a "potter's shop and works," mentioned in the 
mortgage to John Andros. It is a matter of record that 
there was clay in the land directly opposite, and the high 
bank now in evidence suggests a probable excavation 
beside it. 

A conveyance (mortgage) of the same bounded lard,, 
"two acres more or less, Dwelling house, barn, and Pot- 
ter's shop and works thereon standing," was made by 
Putnam to "John Andros of Marblehead, Shoreman, for 
his Proper Debt." At Henry Putnam's request, Andros 
had become bound with him to Ann Devereaux of 
Marblehead in the sum of forty pounds, August 24, 1774. 

Another of twenty pounds upon the pasture land was 
given by Putnam to Ebenezer Turell (the Medford min- 
ister) whose "upland and meadow" adjoined. 

In August, 1773, Putnam sold his pew, "number 36," 
in the third meeting-house to Jonathan Patten for six 
pounds, describing it as the "forty-sixth choice." He 
was then sixty-seven years old, and probably for eight 
years a resident of Medford, and had a son, Eleazer, 
among the Medford minute-men; and another (Henry, Jr.) 
in the Danvers company that marched through Medford 
to Lexington. From his home in Medford (wherever it 
was) the old veteran of Louisburg, then seventy years 
of age, followed them to take part in the fray, leaving 
behind the wife Hannah he so romantically acquired 


forty-eight years before. He was killed at old Menotomy 
by the retreating British. His son, Henry, Jr., was 
wounded and brought to Medford. The Medford 
wounded man, William Polley (also brought home) died, 
but Henry Putnam, Jr., recovered. 

But wherever the dwelling house, barn and potter's 
shop may have been in 1774, no trace of them is to be 
found today. Neither do we know who owned the other 
" moiety," or half of the property. Putnam was styled 
in the pasture deed a " yeoman" of Medford, in the 
other deeds " gentleman." As the " potter's shop " is not 
mentioned in the deed to him, which was so carefully 
drawn as to include the well, and is in his mortgage to 
Andros, it would seem that it had been added during 
his tenure of the property, perhaps by the funds obtained 
by the mortgages above mentioned. In 1789 the execu- 
tor of Turell noted among unpaid bonds that of Putnam 
for twenty pounds. Whether the son Eleazer was a 
potter by trade is unknown; possibly he was, and that in 
his declining years his father thus made effort to assist 
him. If this was the case, and our inference as to loca- 
tion of the Putnam home in Medford is correct, here is 
another line of business to add to central section of 
Medford in the Revolution. 


In our most recent exchange, the Washington Quar- 
terly, are copies of letters of Capt. Eliah Grimes of the 
brig Owhyhee written to Sprague & Marshall, Boston, 
merchants in the Pacific coast trade of a century ago. 
After mentioning much sickness and the death of sev- 
eral men, the captain names one man he "had decided 
to send back to the islands," one who came out in the 
Tama- hour e-laune, and also says, 

they have cold pains in breast and head, which I think is owing: in 
great measure to the brig being so fully salted ; she is damp from 
one end to the other. 


We do not find any reference to the brig Owhyee 
(former spelling of Hawaii; in the list of Medford-built 
vessels, and cannot be certain which "brig" was 4i so 
fully salted," but we find the names of two brigs built in 
1820 in Medford by Thatcher Magoun for Josiah Mar- 
shall. One was the Tama-koure-laune, 162.63 tons, the 
other the Jones, 163.36 tons, the seventy-seventh and 
seventy-eighth in the notable list. A foot-note says: 

These brigs were put together : then taken to pieces and sent to the 
Sandwich Islands on board the Thaddeus commanded by Captain 
A. Blanchard of Medford. 

By the very slight difference in their tonnage, it is evi- 
dent the ordinary-named Jones was a duplicate of the 
long-named Tama-houre-laune, and even if built "knock- 
down," must have been a full freight for the Thaadeus, 
scarcely leaving room for that traditional cargo of "Mis- 
sionaries and Medford rum." As only these two are 
mentioned as thus constructed, there must be some 
foundation of fact in the foot-note, the details of which 
we wish could be explained; the probability is that only 
the " frames " of these two brigs were here set up, properly 
fitted and duly marked before " taken to pieces." Arrived 
at the Sandwich islands, these Medford-built "frames," 
i.e., the timber skeletons, were reassembled, and the outer 
and inner skin or sheathing of planks of native wood, 
put on by the islanders, under the direction of ship- 
carpenters from Medford or Boston. 

As ship building has been a " lost art " in Medford 
nearly a half century, a few words relative to the "salting" 
and "watering " of ships is opportune. After a vessel's 
framework was sheathed without and within with heavy 
planks, the space between the timbers was filled with 
water, which tested the joints, already caulked with 
oakum. This, in the later days of the Medford business, 
was done by a fire engine. When the town procured 
new engines, one of the old " hand tubs," the J, Q. Adams, 
was kept for "watering ships," as stated in the town re- 
port. Below the " bilge " (or curvature of the frames), a 


block of wood was closely fitted in each intervening 
space. This was called a " salt stop," and prevented the 
salt (which was poured into the spaces between) passing 
into the bottom of the vessel, where it was not needed 
for the preservation of the wood, as it was in the sides 
above the varying "water line." Captain Grimes com- 
plained of the over-salting of his brig, which would in- 
dicate a lack of care taken. 

We are told by an expert attendant at the old State 
House that the brig Owhyee was of 166.52 tons, built by 
John Wade at Boston in 182 1. John Wade was previ- 
ously master boat-builder at the Navy Yard. The Bos- 
ton Directory of that year says his shipyard was at 
" Bullard & Hart's shipways, Lynn street," near Charles 
river bridge; and in 1822 he was, with his brother 
Francis, in the same location. The succeeding direc- 
tories mention John Wade, who very likely was of Med- 
ford ancestry, as " boat-builder." Perhaps the Owhyee, a 
small brig, of similar size of the two built the previous 
year (knock-down as the modern term is) at Medford, was 
his first venture in a larger line of constructive work. 


In a former issue the Register alluded to "some un- 
usual moving scenes," one, that of an old meeting-house 
through the town. We are now moved to note another, 
of historic interest: 

More than a century ago a market-house resembling 
Faneuil Hall was built in Boston, at corner of Wash- 
ington and Boylston streets, and called by the latter 
name. Its architect was the noted Charles Bulfinch. A 
two-storied steeple surmounted its roof: the first con- 
tained a one-dial clock, the second (open) a bell. We 
are told this was not built at the market's first erection 
but a little later. After about sixty years, to more fully 
utilize the valuable land, the structure was moved some- 
what, and of course, the steeple with it. This was its 




first moving experience, and in those days to move a 
brick building was considered a marvel. In 1888 in- 
creased land value caused its demolition, but taking 
another journey across Boston, the old steeple, clock and 
bell found a resting place on the Van Nostrand brewery 
near Sullivan square, until the spring of 1921. Then 
came its third removal, witnessed by people along the 
route through Somerville and Mediord. The way to 
Arlington was along the " line of least resistance," longer 
but more level and also u crooked." Each story was 
carried separately by a six-horse team, crossing the river 
by Auburn street and Usher bridges to the new edifice 
of Calvary church (Methodist Episcopal) on Massachu- 
setts avenue. There by means of a big spar derrick it 
was reassembled upon the church tower. This new 
structure, although of wood, in form and outline resem- 
bles King's Chapel of Boston. The latter, erected be- 
fore Bulfmch's time, never had any surmounting turret 
or spire. But it is said that Bulhnch designed one for 
it, and also the colonnade around the tower which was 
later added thereto. A colonnade is a feature of the 
new Calvary church. At somebody's suggestion, the 
owners of the brewery, interested in its preservation, pre- 
sented it to the church society, and according to the 
architect's plan it now forms a part of a pleasing and 
harmonious design. It is said that a suitable tablet giv- 
ing its history is to be placed on the new structure. 
There should be one. An "old saw" reads something 
like this: 

All things come to them that wait. 
Arlington (centre) has waited long for a church, i.e., 
meeting-house, of this particular denomination. Fifty 
years ago its adherents made a beginning, holding ser- 
vices in the town hall, continuing such for six years. 
(The writer has distinct remembrance of preparing 
plans of a somewhat smaller structure than the present 
in 1875.) The effort was unsuccessful and the society 
disbanded two years later. 


Forty years later the effort was renewed and success 
made possible by a co-operation not existent in the older 
days. Then " every tub had to stand on its own bottom," 
and in this case cited, the bottom insecure. 

Today the " Methodist Centenary " and " City Mis- 
sionary and Church Extension Society" are helpful 
factors not to be lightly esteemed. Eight thousand, two 
hundred and fifty dollars is quite an assistance in a 
church building enterprise — we have the authorized 
figures before us. 

Incidentally we note the recent material growth of 
the section where this church is located. Beyond and 
below it, twenty years ago, was an area badly affected by 
malaria. The building of Cradock dam across the Mys- 
tic at Medford changed all that, yet there are still those 
that grumble about the state tax. 

The world moves, but it is uncommon for church 
steeples to do so three times as has this. 


The year 192 1 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the 
introduction of the "devil's fiddle" in Medford, and, 
in fact, in neighboring towns, for its discordant tones 
were everywhere heard. 

" Never heard of it," does some one say? But any 
that heard it did not soon forget it. It was not a re- 
markably melodious instrument, any more than was the 
" horse fiddle " used in certain " Calithumpian serenades " 
that were an opprobrious feature of other days. 

What bright or mischievous boy invented it (and 
where) cannot be told, but one April day Medford awoke 
to its realization; it couldn't do otherwise. Its con- 
struction was simple and its manufacture increased rap- 
idly, as few materials were required. Given a tin can 
(such as spices or baking powder are sold in), or mother's 
pantry shelf afforded, a half-yard of string and a pinch 
of rosin, there were but few boys that couldn't make one. 


1921.] "THE DEVILS FIDDLE." 39 

A hole punched in the bottom {geometrical centre not 
necessary), a knot at one end ot the string, which was 
inserted in said hole from within, and the instrument 
was complete. The urchins' fingers formed the txw by 
which it was played. They " rosined the bow " and made 
application lengthwise the string, and oh, the result ! The 
sacred writer of ancient days wrote, " Make a joyful 
noise " — " Play skilfully on an instrument of ten strings "; 
but in this case the o?ie string made noise anything but 
joyful, and increased by numbers and diverse in quality, 
no wonder that people attributed it to his Satanic 
majesty. The dignified editor of the Medford Jonr7ial, 
in his " valuable paper," made editorial comment of its 
appearance, saying that the next concert of the kl Mustard 
Pot Band " would be on Saturday afternoon. It may 
have been, and again it may not. The craze soon died 
out. The manipulation of the string was too much for 
the cuticle and epidermis of the artists, and the sore 
fingers that resulted required the application of grand- 
mother's salve and time to cure. So the devil's fiddle's 
discordant sounds soon ceased to distract people's ears. 
But there were those that thought about it, and found 
that two similar tins attached by one taut string would 
answer each other without injury to any finger tips — 
and four years later came the telephone. 

But who amid the nerve distracting sounds of 187 1 
would have dared to prophecy what is fact in 192 1, and 
here in Medford? "It has taken the telephone fifty 
years to reach its present state of perfection. Wireless 
telegraphy has been known only half as long, and the 
wireless telephone but a few years." Who would then 
have dared to predict that fifty years later the following 
bit of history would be found in public print ? 

Radiophone concerts are given regularly every Wednesday 
evening at S. 30 ... at Medford" Hillside. Thousands of amateurs, 
within a hundred miles radius of Boston, are able to '« listen in" 
on these wireless concerts. — Boston Transcript, Jtinc II, IQ2I. 

It is a far cry from the concert of the " Mustard Pot 


Band," noted by Editor Usher, in which " devil's fiddles," 
big and little, screeched and squealed, to such as are 
noted above. 


By an oversight the frontispiece of this issue was 
omitted in our last, as illustrative of the " Towers of 
Meciford" and is now presented as " better late than 
never." The plate from which imprint is made is the 
property of the Historical Society, but has never before 
appeared on our pages. It will be observed that, with 
one exception, the views were secured when the trees 
were bare of foliage, thus showing more clearly the dis- 
tinctive features. It was, however, impracticable to 
eliminate the unsightly poles and wires. 

A few words relative to each may be of interest. The 
upper central cut preserves a view of the spire and 
steeple only of the earliest built of the group. As pho- 
tography doesn't lie very much, it is evident that it was 
secured subsequent to the time of the brief dialogue re- 
ferred to in our recent issue. The bare dials, closed 
louvers and Roman cross attest that fact. Built in i860 
(to replace the one burned in the same year) it was first 
that of the First Trinitarian Congregational Society, and 
later that of St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) church. To 
the eye of the camera the building itself was eclipsed by 
the two upper stories of the Andrew Hall house, the 
elevated rear garden of which is in marked contrast to 
present conditions. While this spire is now gone, the 
building itself remains, the business home of Page & 
Curtin. This view also preserves for our sight a sub- 
stantial feature of old-time dwelling construction, of 
which but few (including this) remain. 

The lower right hand is that of the First Baptist, and 
was the next erected, in 1872, by its designer (also a 
member), John Brown. Its spire was built complete 
within the tower and raised to its position ; and the 
open archway at its base forms a carriage porch. 


The next oldest is that in the lower left, the Mystic 
Congregational, erected in 1876, the result of the merg- 
ing of two churches. The building itself (of 1S46) was 
so enlarged and remodeled that the original appearance 
is entirely absent in the present view. This was taken 
subsequent to some repair below the belfry and after 
the invasion of the foliated capitals of the columns by 
the English sparrows. To protect the worshipers from 
defilement these are enclosed in wire netting which de- 
tracts from their original beauty. The old Withington 
house (now gone) is seen at the right, and part of 
"Doctor's Row " (formerly "Rotten Row ") at the left 
in this view. 

Next in order of construction (upper left) was that of 
the First Parish (Unitarian) in 1894. When this group 
of views was made (for the purpose of illustration of 
some special Sunday services) the photographer mistook 
it for the Universalist church, which was the one de- 
sired. It, however, serves our purpose well. The main 
building is of stone, and by later thought the belfry was 
also so built. The small ventilating towers at the side 
are a special and pleasing feature, and the vines clinging 
to its walls add to its beauty. A large memorial window 
in its front is especially noticeable. 

In the upper left is Trinity church (Methodist Epis- 
copal), built in 1896 on the site selected in 1873. In 
April just prior to its erection, the former house of wor- 
ship, erected in 1873 ( tne nrst m West Medford), was 
sold and removed. Its corner-stone, bearing the second 
date of 1896, was placed beneath this. Its early removal 
was a necessity, and preserved the trees on Holton 
street, to which a bit of history attaches: In the early 
'So's Mr. T. P. Smith (then owner) set out a row of elms 
on a proposed street (Minot by name) which was to 
follow the course of the canal just abandoned. At the 
construction of Boston avenue in '73, four of these, then 
on the land of Mr. Horace A. Breed, were dug out and 
thrown aside on his premises. Mr. B. said, " Mr. M., if 


you'll set those trees out, you may have them." "Thank 
you very much, we will," was the reply. A worthy 
German citizen, a new comer, Mr. Charles Meyer, at- 
tended to the work — and well, too. Though four inches 
in size and several days out of ground, the transplanting 
was successful. Just when he did it we may not say, for 
at eight o'clock on Saturday evening they were lying by 
the capacious holes, but on Sunday morning when the 
worshippers came to the new church they were in place 
and sidewalk swept clean. 

Mr. Smith passed away nearly seventy years ago, Mr. 
Breed and Mr. Meyer nearly forty, but we walk under 
the grateful shade of these trees today. But one shows 
in the view. The second, after twenty years, was affected 
by some pest, requiring its removal, and through the 
vacant space the sunlight streams through the great 
window, a memorial to others worthy but now gone. 

The lower central view is that of the latest built (1904), 
the West Medford Congregational. It is of Weymouth 
seam-faced granite and its chapel is stucco. 

Two dwellings erected in the '50's were moved back- 
ward to make place for it, and the granite steps at the 
sidewalk are those of the former house of worship. 

In 1907 a tree, the second at left, probably planted in 
the '50's, was uprooted in a gale and fell against the 
smaller tower, but was fortunately removed without 

It must be understood the presentation of the above 
enumerated is not of the Register's selection, but the 
utilization of a selection made by others and for another 
purpose. It would be our pleasure to present the dozen 
or more others that are in Medford, and doubtless many 
interesting bits of history might be therewith preserved. 

We closed our last issue with a " filler " containing a 
quotation from the diary of Dr. Ames, the almanac 
maker of Dedham. Under conditions of today, we fear 


he might use even stronger language relative to vexa- 
tious delay. The Register has only good to speak of 
its u printer." 

The diary alluded to was written on the blank inter- 
leaving of the almanacs he prepared and published for 
many years, and is reproduced in the publication of the 
Dedham Historical Society, one of our exchanges, which 
we regret to say, ceased issue with its fourteenth volume. 
Now after a century and a half, the doctor's entries and 
observations are of much interest, and informing. Note 
this one, made on October 14, 1767: — 

Made an husking Entertainment. Possibly this leafe may last 
a Century & fall into the hands of some inquisitive Person for 
whos e Entertainm't I will inform him that now There is a Custom 
amongst us of making an Entertainment a r husking of Indian Corn 
whereto all the neighboring Swains are invited & after the Corn is 
finished they like the Hottentots give three Cheers or huzza's but 
cannot carry in the husks without a Rhum bottle they feign great 
Exertion but do nothing till Rhum enlivens them when all is done 
in a trice, then after a hearty Meal about 10 at night they go to 
their pastimes 

Evidently the diarist foresaw that in a century cus- 
toms might change, and also the use of words. So he 
added more to his original entry, also using the word 
entertainment as satisfaction of curiosity and informa- 
tion to the inquisitive. Entertainment has come to be 
a many-sided word. In later days than those, such 
occasions were known as " bees," perhaps because of the 
swarms of people that came and their busy wqrk. There 
were on occasion raising, stone, paring or apple, and 
quilting bees. 

To eke out the parson's salary a donation bee was the 
precursor of the modern pound party; while the spelling 
bee, lacked the co-operative work feature. 

But such gatherings were a sort of " give and take " 
affair. Dr. Ames invited "all the neighboring swains " 
to make a short job of stripping the husks from his gath- 
ered corn; but (in the quaint saying of another), "didn't 
get any more out of a dry well than was put in," as is 

44 ENTERTAINMENT. [June, 1921.] 

proven by the " Rhum-bottle " and " hearty Meal," both 
of his furnishing. 

Then came another feature of the occasion, "their 
pastimes," the playing of games and the country dance, 
and seeing the girls safely home. It was all a part of 
the " Entertainment" 


This same Dr. Ames expressed himself in quite caustic 
terms regarding some practitioners. But on July 20 
(1767) he made a call on one, thus noted: 

Went Dr. Gardner's at Milton drank excellent Wine made of 
Cherries thus 50 lb. of good Cherries stoned, 37 lb of Sugar and 
Water enough to make the whole into the Quantity of half a 

N. B. you put in the whole Cherries except the Stones 

The above must have been Milton "home brew"' 1 
(equally common in Medford) and seemed to have im- 
pressed him favorably. What he might say today 
is another matter. 


As this Register comes to hand a tercentenary 
pageant is on at Plymouth. Our Historical Society 
will note a Medford tercentenary in September next — 
that of first exploration of our territory by white men, an 
event of which scant notice has been taken in the past. 


will be the subject of the evening. Beside the original 
story, several papers relative thereto will be read, and 
the doughty warrior will be shown at the head " of his 
valorous army." 

With all the groundwork of a pageant, we must con- 
tent ourselves with the above observance, but let it be 
an interesting one. 



! ;: ,r ! I ::;■■■] ■ ; [[[{[Mill!] I] 

: ;, ?i ' 1 


H ■■ : 

f : '" ,: -^JL'., •••■'■ ■•■•■— ■■ 

£ 3 

V'-' ; l^s5'h : ' si 

I^t\W^ JB'siiiiili 

-. t 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIV. SEPTEMBER, 1921. , No. 3. 


THE Medford Historical Society has for twenty-five 
years been engaged in the preservation and dissemi- 
nation of the history of Medford. It has seemed advisa- 
ble to devote some space in this issue of its Register 
to its own history, and call public attention thereto. 

On April 16, 1896, a printed circular bearing the 
names of seventeen Medford citizens was sent out, invit- 
ing people to a gathering in the old Simpson tavern on 
April 22. In response fifty-four attended, and the de- 
sirability of organizing a historical society was discussed. 

Another meeting was held on May 8, and steps taken 
to incorporate. On May 22 its charter was issued by 
the secretary of the commonwealth, and on May 23 the 
first stated meeting was held in the Unitarian vestry. 

The next meeting (of record) was on November 18, and 
was held in the old Francis house, numbered two Ash- 
land street. 

That the new Society began with enthusiasm is evi- 
denced by the fact that during the week of October 14 
to 20 a " Historic Festival " or pageant, called u On the 
Banks of the Mystic," was held in the Opera House. 
The idea w r as a novel one and was favorably received by 
the public, as shown by its liberal patronage and large 
attendance. The committee in charge, though for a 
time startled by its temerity in its production because of 
the great expense involved, was happy at its close, and 
at that November meeting turned into the Society's 
treasury the net proceeds of $1,018.21. 

The Society hired the Francis house, which had a 
little historic interest, having been the home of Convers 




Francis, the originator of the Medford cracker, and also 
the birthplace of his talented daughter and authoress, 
Lydia Maria Child. It also made some repair and re- 
fitted it for Society use, and furnished the same. 

In 1902 the property was placed in the market for 
sale and was then purchased by the Society for $4,000.00. 
Of this amount $1,000 was paid in cash, and the remain- 
der provided for by a mortgage and the favorable inter- 
est rate of four per cent. 

But prior to this purchase the various expenses had 
absorbed the proceeds of the historic festival already 
alluded to, and several efforts of lesser magnitude had 
been unremunerative. 

The cash payment was the result, mostly, of donations 
for that specific purpose, secured mainly through the 
efforts of President David Henry Brown. 

The meetings of the Society have been on the third 
Monday in the months from October to May inclusive, 
and for several years a Saturday evening course of ad- 
dresses was added to the regular meetings. At nearly 
all meetings, other than the annual, addresses have been 
given and papers read relating to Medford, its history, 
institutions and people. Many of these have been re- 
produced in the Society's quarterly publication, the 
Historical Register. Its issue was begun in 1897 for 
that express purpose, and its twenty-four volumes repre- 
sent a labor of love on the part of its editors and con- 
tributors, and contain information of Medford found 
nowhere else. By its exchange list with other societies 
it is constantly adding their publications to the Society's 
library, thus making available sources of informaticn. 

The existence of the Society started the effort for the 
preservation of the Royall house, and also Medford's two 
hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary celebration, so 
successfully observed. At that time former President 
Hooper prepared a brief history of Medford, which was 
published by the city's committee (composed of members 
of the Society), together with a full report of the exer- 
cises of the week. 


The questions may be asked, " How is the Society's 
work appreciated by the community it serves, and how 
is it sustained, either financially or otherwise? " 

We reply, its only revenue is its annual dues of $1.00 
from each member. It reached its high-tide of member- 
ship in 1902, about two hundred and fifty, and now 
numbers one hundred and fifty-one. It has no endow- 
ment whatever, and in all its twenty-five years has never 
had any bequest of funds, and contrary to a prevailing 
notion, has never had a penny of municipal assistance. 
Thus it will be seen that its efforts have been heroic and 
" a labor of love." Its current and publication expenses 
for several years exceeded the annual income, and the 
deficit was covered by donations of interested members. 
In 19 14 the latter were insufficient, and a new adminis- 
tration found itself with a debt of over one hundred dol- 
lars and the problem of much-needed repairs on the 
building. The latter seeming impractical, the property 
was sold and temporary quarters secured. 

The enterprise of securing a new and permanent 
home was begun in the summer of 1916, and is so recent 
as to require little mention in detail. Land was pur- 
chased of the city of Medford (at the assessors' valuation, 
which was $629.00), and paid for out of the net amount 
received from the sale of the old property, the balance, 
$371.00 (with accrued interest) being turned into the 
building fund. Thus was conserved the amount origi- 
nally invested in its former home. 

None too soon was this enterprise begun, as circum- 
stances proved. It would be a pleasure to record that 
the people of Medford responded liberally and extended 
a helping hand, but the fact remains that scarcely more 
than a dozen people outside the Society's membership 
responded to its appeal. Then came the war time, and 
during the numerous " drives " for funds the Society had 
no chance. At the earliest possible moment, without 
waiting for the building's completion, the Society moved 
in, ceasing its outlay for rent and reducing its expenses 


to a minimum. To the casual observer it appears com- 
plete, but in the stress of war time and over-topping 
prices there remain some essential fixtures yet to be 
secured. It has been suggested several times to get a 
mortgage to do these things, but the Directors have 
wisely refrained therefrom, remembering that interest 
payments come with inconvenient frequency. 

The new home on Governors avenue never has had 
such ornament (?) and whatever problems of administra- 
tion the Society may have, arise not from any debt upon 
its home, but rather from the lack of public interest in 
its important work. 

To the meetings of the Society every member is en- 
titled to bring friends, with the thought that such may 
become interested and become members. A few have 
thus in the past. Like other similar societies, many of its 
members rarely attend the meetings, but are prompt in 
remitting their annual dues to the Treasurer. This is, 
of course, a help, but the burden of sustaining the inter- 
est in the stated meetings and the management of affairs 
falls upon the few. To secure a larger membership and 
interested working force is an ever-pressing need to en- 
able it to better prosecute its work. 

One of our number on reading the foregoing pages 
remarked, " It is not an appeal to save a sinking ship, but 
for a working crew." 

Given a larger membership means better support, 
added interest and better service in coming years. 

Medford has changed much in the recent years. Re- 
membering Abraham Lincoln's famous remark, we are 
confident the good sense of its people will, in time, assert 
itself. History is in the making. Will the Medford 
people, especially those to whom this Register specially 
comes, join us in our effort? 

1921.] 49 

Dear Sir or Madam: — 

The Medford Historical Society wishes you to become 
acquainted with its work and with its publication. To 
this end extra numbers of this issue have been printed, 
and one sent you. Please accept the same, examine it 
carefully, tell your friends about it, and otherwise give it 

Not all the Society's members are subscribers. Should 
you chance to be a non-subscribing member, we trust 
you will consider it favorably and add your name to its 

Perhaps you may not have heard of or seen the Regis- 
ter before, so to you it makes its best bow and hopes to 
create a favorable impression. In its sending, the Pub- 
lication Committee puts you under no obligation, but 
will be pleased to count your name among its patrons 
to whom it makes its quarterly visits, now nearly one 

Excepting that some space in this number is devoted 
to Society needs and news, the present issue may be 
taken as a sample. Its managers are gratified because 
of its rank among its compeers, and that it is distinc- 
tively a Medford (from sanctum to press) production of 
Medford's history. Its twenty-three completed volumes 
total two thousand four hundred and twenty pages, ex- 
clusive of illustrations, title pages, index and advertise- 
ments. With a few exceptions (for which courtesy is 
acknowledged) the illustrations were made expressly for 
its use, and the half-tone cuts are the property of the 
Society. Some issues are now out of print and thus 
very rare. The Society has but a few complete sets for 
sale. These cannot be broken, but with the few excep- 
tions back numbers to some extent can be procured. 

The Register contains reliable accounts of Medford 
people, its institutions, churches, schools, industries and 
events, compiled from authentic sources. This has been 


done by Medford people in a labor of love for their old 
home town. To accomplish this has been a work of 
years, slow and painstaking. 

Many of the contributors to the Register's pages have 
now passed on, but their work remains. Others are re- 
laxing their effort. Perhaps among those to whom this 
special issue comes there may be some who may take 
their places by sending to the Editor some personal 
observation of their home city. 

There should be many, however, to show their appre- 
ciation of the work of others in the past, and enable the 
Society, by their support, to maintain its publication. 
During all the stress of advanced costs its price has not 
been raised, and at times deficits in its expense account 
have been met by interested friends, but we can no longer 
count on these, hence the liberty we take in thus calling 
your attention to our 



In these recent tercentenary days much has been said 
of the Puritan sacrifice and struggle for religious liberty. 
Some of the speakers have seemed to forget that there 
was a difference between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and 
the Puritans of Boston in their ideas of toleration. The 
one had been tolerated in Holland, the other would toler- 
ate none dissenting from their views, and early became 
dominant in New England. 

How fared it with the Baptists, the' Quakers, or those 
who held to the liturgical worship of the Church of Eng- 
land ? In the colony's history what they endured is un- 
pleasant to read. In Medford's history little is written 
or known. Mr. Brooks made no specific local mention 
thereof, but Mr. Usher alludes to one case of clash be- 
tween a Medford churchman and an officer of the law. 
His story is quoted quite fully by Mr. Hollis, the chroni- 
cler of Grace Church (Register, Vol. V, p. 25). Of this 


case we have never seen any other account in American 
print, and are left in doubt as to its final outcome. The 
Med ford records (Vol. 2, p. 314, 315, 316) contain a list 
of one hundred and twelve names, rated {i.e., assessed) 
the sum of " One hundred Pounds being ye Ministers 
Rate for ye year 1732." This list was committed to the 
constable the third of July for collection and payment by 
him to the treasurer by the fifteenth of October next 


Richard Sprague, who two years before had erected a 
substantial house just out from the market-place, " on 
the way to Blanchard's,"* wa s the constable, and the 
minister whose salary he was thus to collect was Ebene- 
zer Turell. But there was one man in Meclford that 
refused to pay his rate because he was of the English 

The tax list of that time is divided into three classifi- 
cations. Space forbids its entire reproduction, but here 
are four of its names : — 

Heads Real Personal Estate 

& Faculty 

Thomas Brooks 0-11-0 

Peter Seccomb I_I 3-o I- °~3 1-0-8 

Richard Sprague 1-13-0 0-7-6 °~3~5 

Matthew Ellis — I_I 5-3 0-4-9 

We do not quite understand how the first (above 
named) was only assessed a "head " or poll tax, or how 
the latter, a resident, nothing for his head. But he had 
some "faculty," as Constable Sprague found when he 
presented that Medford tax bill so long ago. Upon per- 
sistent refusal to pay toward the salary of Parson Turell, 
the said Matthew Ellis was by Constable Sprague speed- 
ily lodged "in His Majesty's gaol." How long he re- 
mained in durance vile we may not say, but on paying 
the tax and added costs he was released. 

Then he took up the battle for religious freedom 
by bringing an action in court against Sprague "for 
assaulting, beating, wounding and imprisoning him, and 
detaining him in prison till he paid Sprague a fine of 

*See Frontispiece. 


£y i sT At a subsequent town meeting Andrew Hall 
was chosen constable, and the record says (page 328) 
"payed for not serving five pounds," and Joseph Thomp- 
son was chosen and qualified. On the twenty-eighth of 
November, 1733, the selectmen directed him to warn a 
town meeting to be held on December 4, 1733, at 1 p.m. 

To know what method they will take with respect to sute in the 
Law Commenced against Richaid Sprague the last years Constable 
by Matthew Ellis of Medford. 

It appears (by the Massachusetts Archives) that Ellis 
lost his case in the Inferior Court on December 1 1, and 
appealed to the Superior Court. The town meeting 
alluded to had adjourned to December 18 at 12 o'clock. 
It was then 

Put to Vote, whether the Town will reamburft Richard Sprague 
his Reafonable charges in managing the Law Sute commenced 
against him by Matthew Ellis, he bringing in a just account to the 
Town thereof. Voted in the affirmative. Benj. Willis Town Clk. 

Thus it appears that the fight was on, and reinforce- 
ments were coming to the aid of Sprague, erstwhile con- 
stable of Medford. The fame of the case spread, and in 
other towns men elected constables were shy of accept- 
ing office because of Sprague's experience. 

At the Superior Court, on January 29 and July 30, 
1734, Ellis fared no better, but " was cast," i.e., judgment 
was against him. But he had good fighting qualities, 
and appealed to the king for a hearing. 

The Medford selectmen hearing of this called a 

to know the mind of the town . . . and chuse some sutable to 
assist in that affair ... or see what the town shall see meet to do. 

Seven persons were chosen, but farther than that we 
find nothing in Medford records. 

The conflict was next in the Provincial legislature, 
but there was " a long-name society " across the water 
which evidently had a part in it, as it continued for 
several years. 


From "Historical Papers," page 317 (New England 
Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston) we re- 
produce — 

Matthew Ellis to the Society. 
To the Honourable the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel 

in Foreign Parts. The humble Petition of JMattheiv Ellis 

of New England, Husbandman, a ^Member of the Church of 

England, as by Laiv Established 

That your Petitioner being informed that this Honorable Society 
was desirous to have the power of the Independents in New Eng- 
land, which they used to oblige the Members of the Church of 
England to contribute to the maintenance of dissenting teachers or 
preachers lawfully examined into it, being apprehended to the con- 
trary to the intent of the New England Charter, your petitioner 
upon whom a small sum of 40 s N. England money was levied for 
the maintenace of a dissenting teacher, did bring his action in N. 
England, against one Sprague who levyed such sum in order to try 
the right and having no benefit by that Action in New England, 
your pet rs there demanded an Appeal to his Majesty in Council, 
but was there refused it. 

That an Application being made on your Petitioner's behalf to 
this Honourable Society some time since, that you would be pleased 
to take the said case under your care as the same might procure a 
judicial determination & tend to settle that great point. 

The Society as your Petitioner is informed verbally declares 
taking the same upon you in the situation it then was, or until ap- 
plication to his Majesty, an Appeal should be actually allowed here 
so that the mere point of right might come in question 

But declared as your Petitioner humbly apprehends that when 
your Petit r should have obtained liberty to appeal your Petit r 
might then hope for assistance of this Society. 

That thereupon your Petitioner hath at considerable expense to 
himself (far more than his own particular right is concerned) ob- 
tained Liberty to appeal to his Majesty in Council, but is unable to 
bear the further expense of prosecuting the same, and the rather so 
since the Province of the Massachusetts Bay have made the Cause 
of the Respondent Sprague their own and have undertaken the de- 
fence thereof for him portending to be a matter of high concern to 
their Province 

Your Petitioner therefore submits his Case to this Honorable 
Societv, and humbly prays such relief to himself and therein to 
the Members of the Church of England in general as this Society 
shall think proper 

And as in Duty bound shall Pray. 


We quote also the following from the Massachusetts 
Archives: — 

From Province Laws, p. 210, Chap. 194 (First Session). 

"A petition of Richard Sprague, late constable of Meclford in 
county of Middlesex. Showing that in the year 1733 Mathew 
Ellis of that Town was assessed Forty shillings as a part of a Tax 
for the support of the Minister there which the said Ellis Refusing 
to pay, the Memorialist, Agreeably to his Warrant, Committed him 
to his Majesty's Goal in said County; whereupon the said Ellis 
brought his Action of assault Against the Memorialist, charging his 
damage at three hundred pounds Sterling; in which Action he was 
Cast in the Inf r and Superiour Court ; Upon which he Claimed 
his Appeal to his Majesty in Council, which the judges thought him 
not Entitled to; But upon their denyal the said Ellis, Applying to 
his Majesty, Obtained his Order in Council for the hearing of his 
Appeal ; and the Memorialist is Accordingly Notified to Answer 
it; And for as much as the Memorialist has done nothing in this 
Affair but in obedience to the Laws of this Province : Therefore 
praying that he may be freed from any further Trouble and Charge 
in the Affair or otherwise Relieved. 

the Com tee on the petition of Richard Sprague Reported the draught 
of a letter to Mr Agent Wilks on that Subject which was read and 
accepted in both Houses and signed by the Governour. [Passed 
Jan. 3, 1736.] 

Page 526 (Second Session). 

A petition of Richard Sprague : Praying for some allowance 
from this Court for his expence occasioned by a complaint of 
Matthew Ellis to the King and Council for the Petitioners destray- 
ningon him for his Tax, as he was Constable of Medford 

Read and in answer to the Petition 

Voted, that the sum of Fifteen pounds nineteen shillings and 
two pence be granted and allowed to be paid out of the publick 
Treasury of the new Tenour Bills to the Petitioner Richard Sprague 
in full satisfaction of and to reimburse him for his time trouble 
and expence in defence of the affair within mentioned [Passed 
Dec. 21, 1738-9.] 

In Council Read and Concurred 

Consented to J. Belcher 

We are informed that " the [original] petition of Rich- 
ard Sprague is not found in the Archives," and that on 
July 1,. 1737, 


Order on the recommendation of the Committee that the appeal 
be admitted on the usual security, and that Ellis be allowed copies 
of the proceeding under the Seal of the Province, on paying the 
usual fees. 

July 30, 1737. Ellis's petition for an early hearing referred to 
the Committee for Appeals. 

Aug. 14, 1737. Committee appointed Feb. 25 to hear the appeal. 

As on May 16, 1737, Ellis is styled as "late of Medford, 
husbandman/' it is presumable that he had then removed. 
Though he was taxed for real estate, we have been unable 
to find where in Medford he resided. We find that 
in 1733-34 

John Whitmore, Jonathan Hall and Jon a Bradshaw be Depeud 
[deputed?] to vew the Highways by Matthew Ellifes and make 
Report to the Town what they Judg Mr. Ellis should have allowed 
him for moving Som Large Rocks in the Country Road nearby his 
house in sd. Town and Report be made at the adjournment of this 

The meeting was adjourned to seven o'clock of that 
evening at the house of John Bradshaw. We look in 
vain for the committee's report, and greatly fear the 
pious deacons on the committee allowed their distate for 
their churchman's non-conformity to warp their judg- 
ment in the large rocks matter. They might at least 
have reported. 

We have been unable to find trace of Ellis at the 
Registry of Deeds, and thus to fix his location, nor do 
we know how long he lived in Medford. From the 
meagre data we conclude that he did two good things — 
improvement of the highway, and (in the courage of his 
convictions) helped along the coming of the enjoyment 
of religious liberty in Medford. 

56 [Sept., 


"In hell there are no barber's shops." Such is a remark 
attributed by historian Brooks to the Medford minister 
of a century 7 ago. We fancy the assertion to be the re- 
sult of a course of reasoning as to "human depravity," 
rather than of any personal search, by Doctor Osgood. 
Per contra, it would be of interest had the good doctor 
made note of the number of such shops then in Medford. 
As the town's minister for fifty years, he had been some- 
thing of an autocrat, and was not particularly noted for 
soft speeches. We wonder a little what would have 
happened had he been in his prime when Rev. Josiah 
Bracket came up from Charlestown to preach to some 
people, not of " the standing order," in a building called 
" the college." Considering his sermon against the Mai- 
den Baptists, we fear it would have been " Let him be 
anathema, and the house that they shall build come to 
naught." Meeting in various places for over five years, 
those people succeeded, in 1828, in erecting a house of 
worship on the " lane leading from Maiden road to the 
ship yard." In 1922 their successors, the First Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, will observe its centennial and in 
its fourth house of worship, while the first still remains — 
a dwelling-house, and now contains a " barber's shop." 
Changes made to fit it for such use revealed features of 
construction, and started search into its history. Prior 
to this, the only allusions to it we have seen in print are 
in the Register, Vol. XII, p. 2, and an occasional paper 
(1878) called The Half Century. Neither of these con- 
tain any account of the dedication, though the same was 
unique in its features and a novelty in Medford. 

People are wont to think of the predecessor of the 
Mystic Church as the Second Church of Medford. It 
was the Second Congregatiojial, but the First Methodist 
Episcopal is the second church in Medford, its beginning 
was fifteen months the earlier. To the edifice built by 
Galen James and his associates, Second (or First Trini- 
tarian) Congregational, must be accorded the record of 


the first dedication on September i, 1824 — about three 
and one-half years prior to that of the Methodist structure. 
In the library of the New England Conference His- 
torical Society, in Christian Advocate, February 22, 1828, 
we find — 

On Thursday, Feb. 7, the first Methodist Episcopal Church 
in Medford, Mass., was dedicated to the worship of God. The 
order of exercises commenced with select music; which was fol- 
lowed by the introductory prayer by the Rev. Enoch Mudge. Select 
scriptures were read by the Rev. Bishop Hedding — Dedicatory 
Poem — The dedicatory prayer was made by the Rev. Bishop. The 
dedicatory sermon was by the Rev. J. [ohn] N. [ewland] Mafrit 
Two original hymns written for the occasion by the Rev. J. N. 
Mafrit, were sung with great propriety and musical effect, one 
previous to the address and the other following — Concluding prayer 
by the Rev. T. C. Pierce and benediction by the Rev. Mr. Bracket. 

The concourse of people was too great to find accommodation 
in the new church : and after the above services had been attended 
in it, the Congregational church of which the Rev. Mr. Warner is 
pastor, in a spirit of Christian fellowship politely offered the ac- 
commodation of their meetinghouse in which the Rev. Mr. Maffit 
delivered the sermon that had been prepared as the dedication ser- 
mon. The text was in Haggai 11, 7. " And I will fill this house 
with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." The services were solemn, 
appropriate and affecting. Union of feeling and heavenly charity 
mingled in the notes of prayer, and animated the skilful and har- 
monious strains of praise. 

The following is one of the original hymns : — 

The gorgeous temples, Lord, are thine, 
That bow beneath a thousand years ; 
Whose walls dark ivy wreaths entwine — 
Whose aisles are worn with mourners' tears. 

And there are towers that rise to thee 
Beyond the sapphire arch of heaven — 
The temples of eternity 
To thy redeemed children given. 

Yet from the starry halls of light 
Thy spirit wings its viewless way, 
And comes in power and glory bright 
To fill these humble walls today. 

Today as if in heaven we sing 
And raise the song of sacred praise 
Until his hallowed court shall ring 
With our triumphant grateful lays. 


We praise thee, Jesus, that thy name 

Hath waked a feeble echo here, 

And kindled in our souls a flame 

To burn through heaven's eternal years. 

Oh, triumph in the Holy One, 
Whose hand hath led us safe along, 
Until these temple walls were done, 
Oh, raise to heaven a glorious song. 

It certainly was an event worth recording, though u a 
day of small things " in the beginning of Medford Metho- 
dism, but the fine courtesy of that long-ago day is pleas- 
ant to read. John Newland Maffit was the Boston 
minister, and a wonderful pulpit orator and poet of no 
mean ability. Enoch Mudge was also a prominent 
preacher, and T. C. Pierce was presiding elder. 

But what a contrast there must have been in the ap- 
pearance of the two houses of worship. Stately and 
grand, with imposing colonnade and steeple, the equal of 
any for miles around, was the one by the river's side ; 
the other, twenty by forty feet and fourteen feet high, 
utterly devoid of any ornamental finish, with no roof 
cornice, its walls, as well as roof, shingled, with two tiers 
of small windows for light and ventilation, and one door 
for entrance in the end. 

It was probably innocent of paint, also. The interior 
was just one bare room, and may have been plastered. 
If it was heated at all (remember there never was any 
stove in a Medford meeting-house till 1820 or 182 1) the 
stove was in the corner near the door, and fifty feet of 
necessary funnel hung under the ceiling entered a little 
chimney in the rear end of the roof. The seats were 
plain wooden benches extending from the aisle to either 
wall. The pulpit, very plain, with perhaps a hinged 
shelf in front for communion table, was on a low plat- 
form, around the sides of which was a rail, at which the 
communicants knelt, this last an innovation in Medford. 
It was one of the " ten idols " the standing order of theo- 
cratic New England had been combating for two cen- 
turies. Two others were church government by bishops 


and dedication of churches. Here was Medford invaded 
by three, the advance guard of the ten. Historian Brooks 
is careful to state that the house of the Congregationalist 
was dedicated " to Father, Son and Holy Ghost." They 
seemed to thus have admitted the "seventh idol," but 
the others they had no use for. 

But the historian makes no mention whatever of this 
old church building of 1828, and would have the reader 
think there was no Methodist church in Medford until 
1843. J ust now i0n g thus building was used we cannot 
say, nor yet with certainty when it was moved to its 
present site, but let us see what the barber's shop altera- 
tion reveals. 

Made into a " double house," the entrance doors were 
in the sides, with a large room in either corner. In the 
recent change the front and floor of one front room was 
removed. This revealed the fact that the building had 
been cut in two lengthwise, one half moved aside, and 
twe foe feet built in, making its present width thirty-two 
feet. Like the old-time framing, the side sills are ten 
inches square, the cross timbers (about four feet apart) 
are nine inches square and all of hewed pine timber. 
These support the floor joists of oak, and all sound and 
good for another century. (Those just removed were 
replaced at a lower level, that of the addition in front 
forming the barber's shop.) A second floor was put into 
the building when enlarged, also two chimneys, three by 
four feet, containing fireplaces. The old windows of 
eight by ten glass were all utilized, but in the change 
from church to dwelling the front was covered with clap- 
boards. To an observant builder there was much of 
interest in its examination, but one thing was especially 
noticeable. The frame of the original building, so far 
as could be seen (and perhaps the boards), was of lumber 
that had been used in some earlier construction. We 
have mentioned its plainness and lack of ornament. The 
Methodists of that day had not " money to burn," and 
this once-used material is proof of it. Those old timbers 


told us something of the efforts of those few men and 
women of a century ago, and the privations they endured 
and sacrifices they made to obtain the same liberty that 
the fathers sought two hundred years before. We 
learned something in the prospective barber shop on 
Salem Street near Washington Square. 


A certain interest attaches to the exploration and to 
settlement of immigrants in a new country. In recent 
days multitudes have visited Plymouth to see the historic 
rock where the Pilgrims landed, and to tread ground on 
which they found a home. An interesting pageant was 
enacted, with historical lessons that must have made a 
deep impression on the minds of many of the visitors. 
And just now as we write, an enduring reminder has 
been dedicated, — the bronze figure of Massasoit, the 
Indian king, who regarded his treaty as more than " a 
scrap of paper." 

We doubt, however, if in all the exercises there was 
any allusion to an episode that occurred in the Pilgrim 
adventure and was partly enacted on our own Medford 
soil. We have seen fit to call it " The March of Miles 

In 1905 Medford had a festival week in recognition of 
its two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of settle- 
ment. It was about two years behind time, but a very 
successful and interesting one. But how about the 
discovery of Medford territory by white men, which pre- 
ceded the actual settlement? And what of the race that 
hen inhabited it, and had ab-origineivom the beginning ? 
Rightly named were they — aborigines. 

Nearly a century ago* a Boston orator (whose effort 
was so popular that six editions of the oration were 
printed in rapid succession) on Independence Day said 

Here lived and loved another race of beings Beneath the same 
sun that rolls over your head, the Indian hunter pursued the pant- 



ing deer; gazing on the same moon that smiles for you, the Indian 
lover wooed his dusky mate. . . . And all of this has passed away. 
Across the ocean came a pilgrim bark, bearing the seeds of life and 
death. The former were sown for you; the latter sprang up in the 
path of the simple native 

At the time Charles Sprague uttered those words 
(probably in Faneuil Hall), Medford was a little town of 
fifteen hundred people, but had furnished a governor of 
the commonwealth for seven years. Now a cosmopoli- 
tan city of over forty thousand, with " civic pride " little in 
evidence, and an ever increasing tax-rate, it may be that 
the seeds of death the orator mentioned are ripening to 

Medford had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate 
a tercentenary, for those seeds (of both kinds) were 
strewn on what is now its soil, on September twenty-first, 
1621, by " Standish the stalwart and eight of his valor- 
ous army, led by Indian guide." 

Little note has been made of this historic fact in re- 
cent years and it has been well-nigh forgotten. But 
there is the testimony of Bradford, also of the author of 
" Mourt's Relation," both written within a few years of 
the time, and fortunately preserved. 

What a pageant might be enacted in the streets of 
Medford of that march " in Armes up in the Countery," 
and how realistic and educational might be a representa- 
tion of the scenes of that day of discovery, seven years 
before Medford's settlement. 

It is the purpose of the Historical Society, as hinted 
at in the Register's last issue, to make note of this 
event at its coming meeting, and perhaps in a later issue 
may be some account thereof. 


All hail to your determination to celebrate another 
tercentenary, this time Medford's own affair, commemo- 
rating its first view by the white men, and Pilgrims at 


Responding to your question as to what I know or 
think about the visit of Miles Standish to these parts in 
September, 162 1 — well, I didn't know much, but your 
request set me to reading, as I suppose you expected it 
to do. And I began to appreciate something of the 
amount of special skill and patch-work labor necessary 
to enable you even to ask the question. But our inter- 
est in Medford makes it quite worth while to follow out 
your leads as to the first white men on the site of our 
city, and how they came to be there. 

In the first place, none of the chroniclers of the day 
says directly that Standish was on the expedition any- 
way. Governor Bradford says they dispatched on Sep- 
tember 18, ten men with Squanto for their guide. He 
names no one else. The author of " Mourt's Relation " 
gives no other names. But the latter does speak of the 
" Captaine," and we are well persuaded that no such ex- 
pedition would have sallied forth during his lifetime 
without the leadership of that doughty little pepperpot. 
Furthermore, as the writer of the " Relation " speaks 
always of u our" doings in the expedition, I suppose that 
we may conclude that Winslow was of the party — of 
course, assuming that the future governor wrote this 
portion of the history. 

Apparently it is from the " Relation," mainly, that we 
must get particulars of the journey: how that, setting 
forth in the shallop on the eighteenth, they found the 
way longer than they expected (being as they estimated 
it close to twenty leagues), so that they did not arrive 
within the bay until late on the nineteenth ; how they 
landed on the twentieth on one side of the bay, where 
they made a treaty with Obbatinewat, after which they 
sailed across the bay, and there anchoring, slept once 
more aboard ship; then on the twenty-first, how they 
made afoot their memorable journey which particularly 
interests us, to the hill where Nanepashemit had lived, 
thence to the fort in the bottom lands, and a mile further 
on to fort on the hill where Nanepashemit was killed. 



As to my own reflections thereon, two or three items 
stand prominently forth. How came the Pilgrims to be 
here at this time? Bradford says the party was sent to 
spy out and report upon the country of the Massachu- 
setts, and to make a peace treaty with that tribe, by 
whom they had been more or less disturbed, and to 
whom Squanto gave a bad name. Incidentally, never 
forgetting the main chance, they were to do such trad- 
ing as they found practicable with the natives. 

Our Pilgrim forbears seem to have displayed towards 
their Indian neighbors no thought of conquest or of hos- 
tility of any kind, seeking, as it appears, rather a peace- 
ful co-operation and friendliness, wherein they certainly 
showed as much wisdom as philanthropy. 

And if they lost no opportunity for a bargain, never- 
theless their commercial operations seem to have been 
conducted with the most scrupulous conscientiousness. 
My own feeling is that this quality had as great a mili- 
tary as moral value. 

Secondly, it appears their Indian neighbors were pos- 
sessed of a wholesome respect, at least, for the visitors, 
which we are told arose partly from their terrors of the 
white man's gunpowder, and partly from a suspicion that 
he w r as able to let loose upon them anew the plague from 
which they had aforetime suffered so severely. 

As to the report made by the expedition on the terri- 
tory they visited we shall heartily agree with their con- 
clusions. In this connection their is plenty of room for 
sober reflection. Beyond all doubt the place for a great 
settlement is Boston and not Plymouth, and the adven- 
turers were shrewd enough to recognize that fact imme- 
diately. For in spite of their prime object of isolation 
from foreign entanglements, they never had any idea of 
giving up communication with the home country. That 
they desired to make as easy as possible, and that meant, 
of course, a harbor. 

They missed Boston harbor for various reasons, per- 
haps chiefly because they had never heard of it; and 


you will remember Professor Brigham's hint that only a 
blinding snowstorm hid Barnstable harbor from the ad- 
venturers on that memorable expedition from Province- 
town which finally found and selected Plymouth. Barn- 
stable as a harbor would appear far more attractive than 
Plymouth. What ii it had not snowed on that boisterous 
December day ? 

But here again, those of us who stand by providential 
dispensation will find a text. Plymouth was practically 
a deserted village site cleared for settlement and in some 
part made ready for their habitation. Could they have 
survived anywhere else on this coast that first terrible 
winter? The later colonists who had had a chance to 
hear of it, and better opportunities to settle about it, 
were quick enough to find the bay with its " hundred 
islands," and its two navigable inlets which the "Rela- 
tion " says " we " heard of from the Indians but did not 

If I have not properly answered your question let me 
know unless, indeed, you prefer the ills you know to the 
possibilities you can only guess at. 

Very truly yours, 



A Medford dwelling that has stood in the heart of the 
old town for more than two-thirds of its history and still 
is (without modern restoration) a comfortable residence, 
is worthy of notice. Built in 1729, it was of the substan- 
tial type of its period, such as are seen all through New 
England. The front half only of the house is seen in 
the view, the part originally built, as it was subsequently 
enlarged by adding as much in depth to the rear, which 
newer part extended five feet by the front at either end. 
Since thus enlarged, very many years ago, it has housed 
two families, but the front door and enclosed entry is of 
perhaps sixty years ago. 


The street it faces is now known as Riverside avenue, 
because, in one of its improvement spasms, Medford 
deemed the good old name of Ship street hardly digni- 
fied enough. In earliest times it was called "the way 
to Blanchard's," because it was such. Early in the eigh- 
teenth century, a business was established near by, 
which added the fame of "Old Medford." It is said that a 
remarkably good spring of water there existed, which in- 
duced John Hall to there erect his "distil-house," and so 
the "way " came to be called " Distil-house lane." 

It will be seen that the house stands on a corner lot. 
The other "way" is probably as short a street as there is in 
Medford — River street. Extending to Salem street, it 
adjoins (even covers a part of) the earliest burial place, 
and was long known as Dead-man's alley. 

This old house had been erected sixty-eight years 
when its brick neighbor was built. Its owner was a man 
of some note in Medford, and constable of the town in 
1733. Mention is made of him elsewhere in this issue 
of the Register. From out this comfortable mansion, 
Constable Richard Sprague sallied forth one day, per- 
haps with his staff of office, but clothed with the majesty 
of the law, and backed by the warrant of the selectmen, 
to lay hold on the body of one Matthew Ellis, a delin- 
quent tax payer, and trouble of years' duration began. 

But to return to the view, which, though made twenty- 
five years ago, and with a few changes, holds good today. 

The railroad crossing and its gates, the Mystic Church 
spire, the electric light, were things unknown in Richard 
Sprague's time, and not very old when some old Med- 
ford man posed for his picture in Dead-man's alley. 
Who was he? Were he to return today and walk up to 
the square he might curiously look at the contents of 
the old brick distil-house, now a garage. One tall chim- 
ney and ventilators through which rum fumes escaped 
are gone. Instead, those of oil and gasoline prevail. 
And what would Constable Sprague say to the display 
of automobiles now seen across the street from his old 
house ? 

66 [Sept., 

SEASON OF 1920-1921. 

The Historical Society has held its stated meetings on the third 
Monday evenings of October to May (inclusive). On October iS 
Rev. Thomas C. Richards of the Mystic Church, and secretary of 
the John Brown Association, favored us with an interesting address 
on John Brown, recounting many events of the years before the 
Civil War. The attendance was not such as to encourage the com- 
mittee to invite other speakers to address us, so the remaining have 
been sustained by our own membership. 

In November it was fitting that the subject should be " The Pil- 
grims at Provincetown." Mr. Wilson Fiske led off in a talk on 
the timely subject and was followed by several others, and the 
meeting was one of much interest. 

At the December meeting, special consideration, this being the 
Plymouth Day. Mr. Remele read historic selections, Miss Ather- 
ton told the story of Elder Brewster's life in England and Holland, 
and Mr. Mann read a short paper on the time and causes of the 
Pilgrim movement. This meeting- was of much interest and more 
largely attended. 

The annual meeting in January was on one of the coldest even- 
ings of the w r inter, and there was but a small attendance, but the 
reports were made, and officers elected for the ensuing year. 

The February meeting was " An Evening with Parson Turell." 
Mr. Remele read selections from Brook's' History relating to him. 
Mr. Mann read the will of the old minister, having made copy of 
the same at the Probate office. At the "Item — I give to little 
Turell Tufts . . . that my shadow may remain" the portrait of 
Ebenezer Turell thus bequeathed was displayed by Mr. Fiske, who 
had procured it from the First Parish Church for the occasion. At 
the "item, I give to Simon Tufts my watch" a silver watch with 
chain and seal was passed around for inspection. This watch 
(doubtless similar to Mr. Turell's) had just been given to the 
Society, and was that of Dr. Daniel Osgood, brother of Rev. David 
Osgood, Mr. Turell's colleague and successor. Miss Atherton read 
Dr. Holmes' poem " The Parson's Legacy," relating to " the presi- 
dent's chair" at Harvard College, said to have been given by Mr. 
Turell. Mr. Fiske exhibited a copy of the letter written by the 
parson calling for a " fast day," to select a colleague to assist him 
in his latest years. Light refreshments were served and a social 
half-hour closed an enjoyable and interesting meeting. 

In response to the query, " What do we celebrate in March?" 
the Boston Massacre and the Siege and Evacuation of Boston were 
discussed, the members participating quite freely and with interest. 

The April meeting was similarly conducted, and falling on the 
eighteenth, very naturally the Battle of Lexington claimed atten- 

1921.] SEASON OF 1920-1921. 67 

tion, as well as the modern observance of " Patriot's Day." Various 
poems and selections were read by Miss Atherton, Miss Durgin 
and Miss Carty, commemorating the historic rides of William 
Dawes and Paul Revere, and the hanging of the signal lanterns. 
Mr. Mann read a paper on 4t The Route of Revere," which appears 
in the Register. 

President Ackerman called attention to the events of the winter 
of sixty years ago, culminating with the bombardment of Fort 
Sumter. The stirring scenes in Medford, next following, were re- 
called, including the departure of the Light Guard for Washington ; 
the surrender at Appomattox, the restoration of the old flag to Sum- 
ter, and the terrible tragedy of the death of Lincoln were all recalled 
by remarks by several members, which showed April to be a month 
of notable memory. 

On Patriot's Day the Society's home was open to the public 
from noon till five o'clock. Somewhere about two hundred people 
came to see our quarters and collection. But a portion of these 
left their names in our registry book. We had too small a company 
to meet them adequately and explain and answer their questions, 
and the few we had were taxed to extent of patience by the few 
ill-mannered boys who found their way thither. But in the main 
the demeanor of the younger element was very commendable. 

The May meeting marked the completion of the twenty-fifth 
year of the Society's corporate existence, and in response to the 
notice sent by mail to each and every member, we had twenty-five 
present. Letters were read from several, regretting absence, and 
of congratulation and good will. Brief addresses were made, after 
the President's welcome, by former Presidents Wait and Eddy, by 
Dr. Green, president of the Royall House Association, and Miss 
Wild, former Editor of the Register. Former Presidents Hooper 
and Mann were present to en]oy the occasion, which was one of 
real interest. The adjournment was " to meet at the call of the 
President," and a social half-hour, with refreshments, followed. 

During the year the Society has been represented at meetings of 
the Bay State League at Boston, Methuen, Concord and Arlington 
by President Ackerman and Mr. and Mrs. Mann. 

The Society regrets that, because of limited means, it has been 
unable to open its rooms to visitors at regular intervals. At various 
times, however, some of its officers have by special appointment 
met visitors there to save them from disappointment. It is hoped 
that sometime there may be a printed catalog of its library and col- 
lection which is ever increasing and of much interest. 

68 [Sept., 


©ilittxs for tfte gear 1921. 



Telephone, Mystic 1827-W. 10 Adams Street, Medford Hillside. 



Recording Secretary. 


Telephone Connection. Chestnut Street. 

Financial Secretary and Treasurer. 


Telephone, Mystic 2208-W. George Street. 


Librarian and Curator. 

Telephone, Arlington 545-M. 138 Boston Avenue, West Medford. 



The above constitute the Board of Directors which meets at the call of 
the President. * 

The Society's Honorary Members are 

Walter H. Cushing. Benjamin P. Hollis. 

George S. Delano. Charles N. Jones. 




Herbert N. Ackerman. 
Ida M. Ackerman. 
Amy A. Ackerman. 
Isabelle Ackerman. 
John Albree. 
Lily B. Atherton. 
Ernest W. Anderson. 
Abner H. Barker. 
Charles S. Baxter.* 
Frederick N. Beals. 
E. Earl Blakeley. 
Edward P. Boynton.* 
C. W. M. Blanchard. 
Jennie S. Brigham. 
Clifford M. Brewer. 
Edmund Bridge. 
Shepherd Brooks.* 
Frederick Brooks. 
Abby D. Brown. 
Howard D. Brown. 
Edward B. Brown. 
William H. Brown, Mrs. 
Ella L. Burbank. 
Herman L. Buss.* 
Charles B. Buss. 
J. Herbert Barker. 
Frank B. Blodgett. 
Elizabeth R. Carty. 
N. F. Chandler, Dr. 
Elizabeth A. Chaney. 
Sarah L. Clark. 
'Mary S. Clark. 
Charles A. Clark. 
Albert H. Cowin. 
Andrew F. Curtin.* 
Walter F. Gushing.* 
Carrie E. dishing. 

N. B. Cunningham. 
Marion C. Conant. 
Fred P. Carr. 
Norman R. Catherin. 
N. R. Catherin, Mrs. 
Willard Dalrymple. 
Julia W. Dalrymple. 
Charles T. Daly. 
Annie P. Danforth. 
Louise G. DeLong. 
Edward B. Dennison. 
Jessie M. Dinsmore. 
Henry B. Doland. 
Frederick H. Dole. 
Lucy E. Draper. 
Charles B. Dunham. 
Annie E. Durgin. 
John A. C. Emerson. 
Will C. Eddy. 
Wilton B. Fay. 
Wilson Fiske. 
George O. Foster. 
Blanche Foster. 
Viola D. Fuller. 
George S. T. Fuller. 
Ella J. Fuller. 
Frederick W. Fosdick. 
Eliza M. Gill. 
Adeline B. Gill. 
Frank S. Gilkey. 
Sidney Gleason. 
Hall Gleason. 
J. H. Googins, Mrs. 
T. P. Gooding, Mrs. 
Charles M. Green, Dr. 
J. N. Gunn. 

* Life Member. 



[Sept., 1921.] 

Charlotte B. Hallovvell. 
Velma L. Hamlin. 
Catherine E. Harlow.* 
David R. Harvey. 
Samuel C. L. Haskell. 
George S. Hatch. 
Charles M. Hayden. 
Martha E. Hayes. 
John H. Hooper. 
E. V. Hooper. 
Elizabeth W. Howe. 
D. Webster Johnson. 
Philip A. Jerguson. 
Charles S. Jacobs, Mrs. 
Frances E. Jackson. 
George H. Lane. 
Carolyn R. Lawrence.* 
Rose well B.Lawrence.* 
William B. Lawrence.* 
William Leavens. 
Emma D. Leavens. 
Agnes W. Lincoln.* 
Charles H. Loomis. 
Lewis H. Lovering.* 
Frank W. Lovering. 
Clara C. Lovering. 
Moses W. Mann. 
Elizabeth J. C. Mann. 
Leonard J. Manning. 
Martha J. Martin. 
George B. Means. 
J. C. Miller, Jr. 
Ernest B. Moore. 
Grace M. Moore. 
Warren T. Morse. 
Frances W. McGill. 
Frank L. Mason. 
Thomas H. Norton. 
Winthrop I. Nottage. 

Joseph E. Ober. 

George W. Parsons. 

Joseph W. Phinney.* 

Priscilla C. Phinney. 

Melvin W. Pierce. 

S. U. Prescott.* 

Edward S. Randall. 

George H. Remele. 

Thomas C. Richards, Rev. 

Percy W. Richardson. 

Harriet J. Russell. 

William J. Reilly. 

Mary E. Reilly. 

Walter E. Richardson. 

Elisha J. Sampson. 

George T. Sampson. 

Henry E. Scott. 

Harriet A. C. Scott. 

Herbert F. Staples. 

Henry P. Stanwood. 

Emeline M. Stearns. 

Katherine H. Stone. 

Amelia M. Symmes. 

Charles S. Taylor. 

Lizzie E. Taylor. 

Abby E. Teel. 

Charles H. Tinkham. 

Leonard Tufts.* 

Frank G. Volpe. 

Hendrik Vossema, Rev. 

William Cushing Wait.* 

Mary L. Washburn. 

Helen T. Wild. 

E. Josephine Wilcox. 

J. D. P. Wingate. 

Helen Wingate. 

William H. Winkley 

Irwin O. Wright.* 

Christine Warner. 

* Life Member. 



»*- ' ■•- V,--..- ,...s«..c.; A f 



: a 

%x- mmy 


32 ■ 



/f\ to j; 


< « s 

s §1 

r-> en ^_ 

1 Is 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXIV. DECEMBER, 1921. No. 4. 


THREE years ago we were asked by a business 
manager if Medford derived its name from any Eng- 
lish locality. Without hesitation we replied affirmatively. 
In Vol. XXII, p. 21, our conclusions and reasons there- 
for may be found. 

During the present year there has been published 
'* Towns of New England, Old England, Ireland and 
Scotland " by the State Street Trust Company of Boston. 
Its two parts form a book of four hundred and fifty pages, 
with numerous excellent illustrations. " Medford, Massa- 
chusetts," may be found on pages 123 to 125 of the sec- 
ond part, accompanied by the attractive view shown in 
our frontispiece. This was secured from Ian Forbes, Esq., 
of Robertson, England, and we reproduce it by courtesy 
of the Trust Company. 

Following its good example thus set, the Register has 
sought information from oversea, relative to Medford, 
Staffordshire. We applied at the British Consulate in 
Boston and were told " It must be a small place, as there 
is no post office of that name in our list," and were ad- 
vised to write to ''Staffordshire County Council." Doing 
so, we were in due time in receipt of the following: — 

27th October, 1921. 
Dear Sir, 

Meaford — Staffordshire. 

I have your letter of the 10th instant desiring information with 
regard to the above. I do not think I can do better than send you 
the enclosed extract from Kelly's Directory of this County. The 
enclosed three pictures may also be of interest to you. 

Yours faithfully, 

Eustace Joy, M.A. 



Meaford is a very small village and hamlet near the river 
Trent, about i^ miles north-north-west from Stone station, on the 
Cohvich and Stoke section of the North Staffordshire railway, in 
the Kibblestone quarter of Stone parish, Stone division of the 
county, South Pirehill hundred, Stone union, petty sessional divi- 
sion and county court district, on the road from Stone to New- 
castle. Divine service is held every Sunday afternoon in the school 
by the vicar of Christ Church, Stone. Meaford Hall, on the east side 
of the Trent, is the seat of Lieut. -Col. William Swinfen W. Parker- 
Jervis, D. S. O., and has been in the possession of the Jervis family 
for several generations; here was born, 19th January, 1735, John 
Jervis, the famous admiral, created Earl St. Vincent, 23rd June, 
1797, in recognition of the splendid victory he achieved in that year 
over the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent. Lieut. -Col. William 
Swinfen W. Parker-Jervis, D. S. O., is the principal landowner. 
The soil is gravel; subsoil, sandstone. The land is chiefly in pas- 
ture. The area is 1,376 acres. The population is included in 
Stone parish. 

Letters through Stone, by messenger, and Stone is the nearest 
money order and telegraph office. 

The children of this place attend the school at Stone. 

We regret that we cannot in this issue present the 
beautiful views mentioned, but hope to in the near future. 

By the above it will be seen that the English Medford, 
now called Meaford (pronounced Mefford), is not a muni- 
cipality, but is an outlying " village or hamlet " adjoining 
the town (or city) of Stone, being counted in its census 
return and served by its post office. In reading the 
above, and also a " Kelly's Directory " of earlier date (in 
Boston), we are reminded of the acreage and extent of 
the Brooks estate in West Medford, and also of that little 
village and its facilities as we found it in 1870, and also 
of the relation it bore to the Medford of that time. We 
have replied with thanks to Clerk Joy, sending some 
illustrated literature relating to our Medford, and trust 
that thus reaching our " hands across the sea," we may 
get in closer touch with old Medford, we mean the older 
Medford, i.e., present Meaford, where three centuries 
ago Governor Cradock had his country home. 




By Hall Gleason, Following the Research of the late 

Daniel A. Gleason. 

The renowned sachem of the Pawtuckets was Nane- 
pashemit, who removed from Lynn in 1615, and took up 
his abode on Mystic river where he was killed in 1619. 
During his short and eventful residence in IVledford his 
house was placed on Rock hill, where he could best 
watch canoes in the river. So says Medford's historian. 

Other histories show him as living in Medford not 
far from the river or from the pond and on the tops of 
hills. This eminent grand sachem was the father of 
Sagamore John of Mystic, Sagamore James of Lynn and 
Sagamore George of Salem. George finally became 
sachem of the Pawtuckets. Their chief enemies were 
the Tarratines on the Penobscot, who at harvest would 
come in their canoes and reap the fields in this neigh- 
borhood. One hundred of them attacked Sagamores 
John and James August 8, 163 1, by night and wounded 
them and killed seven men. Sagamores John and 
James died of the smallpox in 1633. 

After the death of Nanepashemit, his wife as queen 
and squa sachem reigned. She married Webcowit, 
the physician of the tribe, " its powow, priest, witch, 
sorcerer, and chirurgeon," but as is asserted, setting a pre- 
cedent which Queen Victoria followed, he became prince- 
consort but not prince-regnant. In 1636 a deed is 
recorded granting a tract of land to Jotham Gibbons of 
Boston as follows: 

Middlesex Deeds, B. 1, P. 174 

This testifies that I the Sachem which have right & possession 
of the ground which I reserved from Charlestowne and Cambridge 
which lyes against the ponds at Misticke ; with the said ponds I do 
give freely to Jotham Gibbons his Heyres Executors and Assignes 
forever not willing to have him or his disturbed, in the said gift 
after my death. And this I do without seeking too of him or 
any of his, though thay have been put upon it many times, but I 


receiving many kindnesses of them am willing to acknowledge 

their many kindnesses by this smal gift to their sonne Jotham 


Witness my hand the ioth of the n. month. 1636 
The Squa Sachem X mark 

Webicowits mark 


Edmund Quinsey 
Entered and Recorded 23 (S) 1656 by Thomas Danforth 


This deed implies the transfer of a tract of land to 
Charlestown and Cambridge of which there is no record. 
In 1639 she deeded a tract to Charlestown: 

Middx. Deeds B. j, P. 175 Apr. 15, 1639 

The 15th of the 2d. mo. 1639 We Web Cowit & Squaw Sachem 
do sell unto the Inhabitants of the Towne of Charlestowne, all the 
land within the lines granted them by the Court excepting the 
farmes and the ground on the west of the two great Ponds called 
Misticke ponds, from the south side of Mr. Nowell's lott neere the 
upper end of the ponds unto the little runnet* that cometh from 
Capt. Cooke's mill w r hich the Squaw reserveth to their use for her 
life for the Indians to plant and hunt upon and the wearej above 
the Ponds they also reserve for the Indians to fish at whiles the 
Squaw liveth, and after the death of Squaw Sachem shee doth 
leave all her lands from Mr Mayhues house+ to near Salem to the 
present Governor Mr. John Winthrop Senr. Mr. Increase Nowell 
Mr. John Wilson Mr Edward Gibons to dispose of, and all Indi- 
ans to depart and for sattisfaction from Charlestowne, wee ac- 
knowledge to have received in full sattisfaction twenty and one 
coates nineteen fathoms of wampum & three bushels of corne 
In Witness Whereof we have hereunto sett our hands the day and 
year above named 
the mark of Squa Sachem X 
the mark of Web Cowet 
Subscribed in the presence off 
Jno. Humphery 
Robert Feake 
This is to testifie that the aforenamed purchase was made at the 

•Sucker brook in Arlington. 

tAt the mouth of the Aberjona. This point was overflowed by the dam 
at the partings in 1865. 

JCradock's farm house at Medford Square. 


charges of the Inhabitants of Charlestowne and to their use, and 
for so much as lyeth within their limitts we do accordingly resign 
and yield up all our interest therein to the use of the said town 
according to the trust reposed in us. 

Dec. iS, 1639 10th. mo. iSth. 1639 
Jno. Winthrop Govrnr 
Increase Nowell 
Jno. Wilson 
Oct. 23, 1656 Entered & Recorded 23th S mo. 1656 
by Thos. Danforth Recorder. 

The last clause of this deed is more fully explained in 
this affidavit of John Wilson in 1662: 

Middlesex Co. Ct. files 1662 Gleason v. Norton & al 

These may serve to certify whomsoever they may concern that 
whereas I undeawritten together with the Honord Mr Jno. Win- 
throp & Mr Increase Nowell both deceased have sett my hand 
unto a certain, writing wherein wee resigned up all our interest that 
wee had in a certaine tract of land comitted to or trust by Squaw 
Sachem as may more amply appeare in the said instrument refer- 
ence thereunto being had unto the Towne of Charlestowne I do 
hereby declare that in that Act of mine I did not nor now doe 
yield up any part of that Tract of Land that was given unto Jotham 
Gibbons by the Squaw Sachem, neither doe I think that it was any 
part of the meaning or intention of either of those Gentlemen that 
sett their hands to it. 
This is the truth as witness my hand this 15th. of December 1662. 

John Wilson Sen. 
This is owned in Court 17. 10. 62 as signed by Mr Wilson. 

The bound for the commencement of the Indian grant was 
" from Mr. Mayhews house to neere Salem " Affidavits of Edmund 
Converse, Benjamin Crisp and Joseph Hills used in Gleason v. 
Norton & al. in 1662 say that Davison lived in ;4 Meadford house" 
in 1633, and Richard Beers, Benjamin Crisp and Garret Church 
say that May hew lived there in 1636. 

On the thirteenth of November, 1639, the squa sachem 
gave another deed to Jotham Gibbons for the same 
tract of land as follows : 

Middx. Deeds B. 1, p. 176 

Be it known unto all men by these presents that we Webcowites 
and the Squa Sachem of Misticke wife of the said Webco- 
wites calling to mind and well considering the many kindnesses and 


benefits we have received from the hands of Captain Edward Gibons 
of Boston in New England in part of requitall whereof and for 
our tender love and good respect that we do beare to Jotham 
Gibones Sonne & Heyre Apparent of the said Captain Gibones Do 
hereby of our own motion and accord give & grant unto the said 
Jotham Gibones the reversion of all that parcell of land which lies 
against the ponds at Misticke aforesaid together with the said 
Ponds, all which we reserved from Charlestowne and Cambridge 
late called Newtowne and all hereditaments and apurtenances there- 
unto belonging after the death of me the said Squa Sachem To 
have and to hold the said reversion of the said parcell of lands and 
ponds and all and singular the premises with the Apurtenances 
unto the said Jotham Gibones his Heyres and Assignes forever. 
In Witness Whereof we have hereunto sett our hands and seals the 
thirtenth day of the Eleventh month in the yeare so declared by 
Christians One thousand six hundred thirty and nine and in the 
fiftenth yeare of the Reigne of King Charles of England &c 
willing that these be recorded before our much honoured friends 
the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay in New England and the 
rest of the Magistrates there for perpetual remembrace of this 

The Squa Sachem marke X 

& a seal 
Web-Cowits mark X 

& a seal 
Signed sealed and delivered in presenee of 
Robert Lucar 
Edmund Quinsey 
Robert Gillum 

This writing is acknowledged to be the deed of Squa Sachem and 
Web-Cowites, and the marks and seals thereunto affixed to be their 
marks & seals and have manifested and explained the bounds of 
the said grant or deed to be distinct from the land which was given 
to the Governor Mr Nowell Mr Wilson and Capt. Gibones, Bene- 
dict Arnold being interpreter, and that they did not sell it to 

In the presence of us 

Jno. Winthrop Governr Richard Saltonstall 

Jno. Endecott Dept. Govr. Thomas Flint 

Recorded 3 (6) 1643 by William Aspinwall Recorder Entred & 
Recorded 23 (8)1656 by Thomas Danforth Recorder. 

The Major Gibbons farm or the Squa Sachem's reser- 
vation was a tract of about five hundred acres* on the 

*480 per Plan. 


west shore of Mystic ponds, reaching along the shore 
of both ponds, from the stream* that runs into the pond 
from the old Fowle and grain mills, north to the point 
just above the upper pond where the Middlesex canal for- 
merly crossed to the long point (now a part of the Metro- 
politan park reservation) which reaches out between 
the upper pond and what is now known as Bacon's. 

The squa sachem described that boundary as the 
south end of Mr. Nowell's land. A witness, in the suit 
to be mentioned, described the [southern] as " the little 
brook that runneth from Capt. Cook's mill to Mystic 

Col. George Cooke had early built a mill a little above 
the present site of the old Fowle grain mill and was a 
man of repute. He returned to England on the break- 
ing out of the Civil War, was made a colonel under 
Cromwell and was killed in Ireland in 1652. Adminis- 
tration of his estate in this country was granted to Henry 
Dunster, first president of Harvard, and Colonel Cooke's 
older brother Joseph in 1653. Some three hundred feet 
or so above the present dam just where a street [Water 
street] comes down to the west side of the pond [mill 
pond] are projections reaching out from each side of the 
pond towards a small island in the center [part of the old 
dam] and Judge Parmenter pointed this out as the re- 
mains of the original dam to Colonel Cooke's mill. 

The reservation extended back from the pond about 
five-eighths of a mile well up to the crest of the hill (or 
further) at the north end and narrowed down to the west 
side of the road at the south end some twenty rods north 
of the bridge [over Sucker brook]. 

In 1658 by indenture dated December 3 but signed 
December 9 Thomas Gleason leased of Capt. Samuel 
Scarlett acting for his wife " the messuage etc. lying and 
being within the bounds of Charlestowne — commonly 
known and called by the name of the Major Gibbons 
farme " for ten years at a rental of eight pounds a year. 

*Sucker brook. 


This lease and attendant litigation is briefly as follows: 

In 1650 the Squa died, according to the deposition of 
Richard Church in Scarlett v. Gardiner, and Edward 
Gibbons took possession of the land in behalf of his son. 
In 1655, 9th of 5 mo. (July 9) Jotham, describing him- 
self as of Bermuda, appointed Thomas Lake and Josh: 
Scottow general attorneys for many purposes, and among 
other things to recover possession " of the parcell of land 
belonging unto me sometimes called by the name of 
Squa Sachem's hill.** It was mortgaged to Scottow, re- 
deemed by Scarlett in the right of his wife, leased by 
him to Thomas Gleason who entered under the lease and 
soon had his hands full of work and trouble. 

In the summer of 1659 men employed by Henry 
Dunster as executor of Colonel Cooke began to mow 
the grass in the meadow below the mill. Thomas 
Gleason, assisted doubtless by his brawny sons, set upon 
the men, drove them off and carried off the hav. 

In the County Court held at Cambridge April 3, 1660, 
Thomas Gleason in behalf of Capt. Samuel Scarlett sues 
" Ri: Gardiner in an accord of ye case for laying claim 
to a parcell of land belonging to ye farme that was some- 
times Maj. Edw. Gibbons of Boston, etc." April 23, 
1660, the jury found for the plaintiff. In the files be- 
longing to this case are several very interesting docu- 
ments, and especially the original indenture of lease 
signed by Scarlett. 

But the Gharlestown people returned again to the 
charge: At the County Court held in Cambridge April 1, 
1662, Capt. Francis Norton and Mr. Nicholas Davison 
in the behalf of the Inhabitants of Charlestowne plffs. 
brought action against Thomas Gleison deft, in an ac- 
tion of the case for witholding their interest in a parcel 
of land formerly in the possession of Web Cowitt and 
Squa Sachem with due damages, etc. Upon trial the 
jury brought in their verdict for the plaintiff an interest 
in and to three parts of the land in controversie on the 
west side of mistike ponds and the other part thereof to 




the defendant as land belonging to Jotham Gibbons and 
for the defendant costs six shillings and two pence. 

At the County Court held in Charlestowne Dec. 16, 
1662, Thomas Gleison as plaintiff brought action against 
Capt. Francis Norton and Mr. Nicholas Davison in an 
action of review of judgment granted against him as 
above. But the verdict was against the plaintiff, affirm- 
ing the former decision. The plaintiff appealed to the 
Court of Assistants. It may be noted that in the writ 
in this case we get the name spelled " Gleison." 

Data Secured by W. H. Gleason 

See County Court Records, Vol. 1, page 245 : 

The attachment was dated March 24, served March 25, 1662. 

County Court was held apr 1, 1662 Norton & Davison vs 
Gleason, verdict gave plaintiff 3 parts defendant one part 

In Dec 1662 — Gleason brought suit to have the verdict reviewed 

See County Court Records, Vol. 1, page 270: 

Jury brought in verdict for Deft. : Confirmation of Judgement in 
April [This was a verdict with costs. VV. H. G.] 

The Plaintiff — Gleason appealed to ye next Court of Assistants 
to be held in Boston March Next And in October had a verdict in 
his favor. 

See Volume 4, page 427, Records of General Court : 

Second Session of the General Court, Boston, October 20, 1663. 

Court Judgement in the Case between Capt Norton for Charles- 
town and Thos Gleason for Capt Scarlett 

In the case now depending between Capt Francis Norton and 
and Mr Nicholas Davison plaintiffs in the behalf of Charlestown 
aforesaid and Thomas Gleason aforesaid defendant in refference to 
a certain parcel of land now in the possession of said Gleason given 
by Squa Sachem to Jotham Gibbons 

The Court in a hearing of the Case and All persons concerned 
doe finde for the defendant. 

Cost of Court forty-four shillings and four pence. 

The Johnson Affidavit 
Edvvd Johnson aged 60 yrs. witnesseth that about one or two & 
twenty years ago This deponent being at the Wigwam of Squa 
Sachem, there was present Mr Increase Nowell Major Edward 
Gibbons Ralph Sprague & Edward Converse & some others of 
Charlestown at which time according to the interpretation of her 
and her husbands meaning by the above named Major Edward 


Gibbons they did grant and sell unto Charlestown all their land 
within the limits of Charlestown, except that on the west side of 
the ponds called Mystic where their wigwam then stood which they 
reserved for term of her life & after her decease they did then declare 
it should come & remain to Jno Winthrop Esqr. Mr Increase No- 
well Mr Jno. Wilson & the above named Major Edw. Gibbons & 
the persons & [illegible] this deponent on his return home did enter 
into his day book for remembrance thereof This is the whole truth 
remembered so saith 

Edward Johnson 
Sworn in court 4. (2) 1660 

This Indian deed to Winthrop and others was a most 
unlucky piece of conveyancing. Paige {History of Ca7?i- 
bridge) evidently thinks there was another deed from the 
Indians releasing the lands within the bounds of Water- 
town, Cambridge and Boston. If so, it is apparently 
hopelessly lost. From the expression in the first deed 
to Jotham Gibbons in 1636, "which I reserved from 
Charlestowne and Cambridge "it seems there must have 
been an earlier conveyance, probably in 1635, perhaps 
by the symbolical delivery of turf and twig upon the 
ground itself. But the decision to give one-quarter only 
of the reservation to Jotham Gibbons, grantee, is abso- 
lutely incomprehensible. The deed is so clumsily ex- 
pressed as to require explanation. This we get from the 
Indians in their two deeds to Jotham, and from Governor 
Winthrop in the Council certificate attached to the 
second deed to Jotham. Winthrop probably drew this 
himself and it was only four years after the Charlestowne 
release. At this time Jotham was only ten years old 
(baptized October 27, 1633). His power to Lake and 
Scottow is dated July 9, 1655, soon after he became of 
age. Edward Gibbons did not sign the memorandum 
on the Charlestown release, and his acceptance of the 
gift to his son shows his view of the matter. At the 
time of making the lease to Thomas Gleason all four 
trustees except John Wilson were dead, and his affidavit 
tells what he understood, and shows that the gift to the 
Gibbons family was well known. 



1921.] 81 


In " History of Medford," the chapter on Crimes and 
Punishments deals only with those of Colonial and Pro- 
vincial days. It has been suggested that there were 
some happenings in Medford (from murder downward) 
in later (not to say latest) days, which a faithful chroni- 
cler might mention. But is it known to people generally, 
that a century ago Massachusetts had just enacted a law 
making highway robbery, when accompanied with threat, 
violence and exposure of a deadly weapon, a capital 
offence ? Such was the fact, and there are those who, 
on account of recent increase in crime, and the facilities 
of escape offered by the automobile, think it would be 
well if such penalty was restored. The recent hold-up 
of Boston bank messengers in Chelsea is cited as an 

One, nearly related to Medford, is mentioned in the 
Register, Vol. XXIII, p. 9, which must have caused 
much excitement in our old town just one hundred years 
ago. The Columbian Centijiel of August 15, 182 1, thus 
tells the story : — 

Wednesday, August 15, 1821. 
Daring- Robbery. On Monday evening, before nightfall, as 
Major John Bray of this town, was returning from Medford in a 
chaise with his lady, he was stopped on the turnpike near the Ten 
Hills Farm, by a robber who, after commanding the chaise to stop, 
presented a pistol to the Major's breast and demanded his money. 
Major B. saw that the pistol was cocked, and took out his pocket 
book and gave the robber a sum of money. The latter then de- 
manded the Major's watch, which was also given him and he rode 
off towards Medford. A gentleman returning from Medford met a 
person on horseback who answered the description of the robber 
who was of dark complexion, dressed in dark clothes, mounted on 
a dark bay horse, with a portmanteau. When first seen by Mr & 
Mrs Bray the robber was on foot standing by his horse and ob- 
served by them very sharply as they passed. He must have imme- 
diately mounted followed the chaise and committed the robbery 
He offered no insult to Mrs. B. and remarked that he robbed none 
but gentlemen. The pursuit set on foot by Major B. succeeded so 
far as recovering the horse, which the robber rode, but the high- 
wayman is not yet taken. 


It was said that on that evening " Governor Brooks 
gave an assembly" at his mansion on High street, which 
afforded the highwayman the opportunity of waylaying 
the returning guests, who were of the class most likely 
to be victims of plunder. 

It was told that after the robber's escape from pursuit 
up High street, he found refuge in a cave in the woods 
at West Cambridge (now Arlington). From thence 
he went to Springfield, where, a week later, he was 
arrested and brought to the jail at East Cambridge. 

The Centinel of August 22 said 

The highivayttian taken. Yesterday Michael Martin was exam- 
ined at Cambridge on charge of being the person who robbed Major 
Bray on the Medford Turnpike. He was fully committed to take 
his trial in October next.* 

The Centinel, October 20, said, 

The sentence of Michael Martin, convicted of highway robbery 
has not been passed upon him. His counsel have moved an arrest of 
judgment for misdirection of court matters of law and the court has 
assigned a future day for hearing arguments on the motion 

It seems that the "future day" was not long deferred, 
for on October 22 — 

the Chief-justice after a most dignified and pathetic address to him 
pronounced the awful sentence of the law. 

There must have been much excitement over the case, 
as this was the first sentence under the law before alluded 
to. His counsel made every effort in his power, but to 
no purpose. The Centinel of December 5 said, 

No doubt that Martin would be executed. 

But with the fatal day drawing near, " Mike Martin " 
undertook to do something for himself. On the morning 
of the eighth of December, as the keeper entered his cell 
bringing his breakfast, Martin gave him a stunning blow, 
rushed through the doorway and throwing himself against 
the gate, forced it open and escaped into the open field, 

* The file of the CV#//«<?/consulted is incomplete, but from another source 
we learn that he was convicted on October 9. 


where he was soon recaptured. It was found that he 
had some time before secreted the knife accompanying 
his food, nicked its back, thus making a crude hack-saw 
with which he had severed the links of his chain. The 
cuts thus made were filled with a mixture of grease and 
dust, making them unnoticeable until broken in his 
"desperate attempt." He told the sheriff that "he 
prayed to God twice on his knees, that the blow he was 
about to inflict on the keeper might not prove fatal." 
Twelve days later (Thursday, December 20) the sentence 
of death was executed. A vast concourse of people 
assembled at " Lechmere Point " to witness it. East 
Cambridge was not then a network of railway tracks 
and closely built factories, and the scaffold was in plain 
view of the state prison at Charlestown, and of Boston 
across the Charles river. 

The Centinel of the 2 2d gave a graphic account of the 
same, mentioning the appeal of the sheriff to the assem- 
bly to maintain respectful silence and order " while the 
last offices of religion were performed to the unhappy 
man " by the attending priest, stating 

The request was complied with and the regularity and decorum 
with which [the execution] was conducted must have made a deep 
impression upon the great body of spectators which witnessed it. 
and inspired them with a suitable awe for the energy and majesty of 
the laws. 

We of today may wonder a little that this execution 
took place outside the security of the jail enclosure, and 
that the sheriff should have had so small a number of 
guards present. But a century ago executions were 
public for the purpose of enforcing a respect of law and 
order. Martin was described as a young man of twenty- 
seven years, in perfect health, and perhaps the coolest 
and most collected of the company that stood upon the 
elevated stage which supported the scaffold. He re- 
marked that it was well that he should thus suffer, for 
had he succeeded in escaping he would probably have 
gone back to his former life. 


In the foregoing it will be observed that the quota- 
tions are from the Centinel,z. leading semi-weekly of the 
time. It was then the custom to print (in pamphlet 
form) reports of capital and noted trials, sometimes illus- 
trated by wood-cuts of the criminals and their execution. 
In the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 
is the story (third edition) of this case (70 pages) by 
F. W. Waldo published by Russell & Gardner, 1822. 
This contains the story of his life as confided to that 
writer by Martin, whose real name was not " Mike " but 

There is also a smaller pamphlet by Mr. Waldo which 
is a detailed report of the court proceedings as reported 
by him, and by the same publishers, in 182 1. 

Still another, probably elicited by the first named, 
deals with the publicity given to the reputed penitence 
of criminals, and is a careful exposition and defence of 
the then existing law. 

A later publication of forty-eight pages, in 1845, — 
" Mike Martin, or the last of the highwaymen. A Tale 
of Reality" — was by F. A. Durivage, the editor of the 
Olive Branch, and frequent contributor to the columns 
of the famous Gleasorts Pictorial of the '50s. As his work 
was twenty-four years later, it is evident that whatever 
reality of the tale there was, he derived from the earlier 
one of Waldo, With his vivid imagination and ability in 
embellishment, " there was a woman in the case," and 
Durivage's work, like many others, is very readable, but 
not altogether reliable. His book was illustrated by a 
wood-cut, showing Martin upon a horse, overtaking his 
victim in a chaise (its top turned down), lashing the 
horse, and directly opposite the Ten-hills mansion.* 

As the indictment charged the robbery in Medford, 
this is comparable to the old weapon found in the river 
at the building of Cradock Bridge and brought to the His- 
torical Society, and said to have " been Mike Martin's," 
but which was a revolver. 

*This was in Charlestown, now Somerville, though a part of the estate 
extended into Medford. 


Another writer, perhaps with some reason, gives the 
"Devil's Den " in Menotomy Rocks park at Arlington 
as his hiding place, giving a minute and interesting 
account of its features. The date of this latter cannot 
be fixed but, as before stated, perhaps was 1886. 

Another haunt of Martin's is said to have been on the 
slope of Central hill, where was (and still is) the spring, 
just northward from the railroad station known as 
Winter hill. But neither Martin nor any one else ever 
dreamed of a railroad then. 

The sheriff doubtless had then and there good reason 
to ask of the assembly respect of the rites of religion, 
but it is a sad commentary on some phases of modern 
civilization that, after the lapse of a century, the chief 
executive of the commonwealth has found it needful to 
appeal to our citizenry for respect of law and order, or 
that younger men than Mike Martin can commit more 
daring crimes in daylight and succeed in a quick getaway. 


The Curator was somewhat startled recently, on enter- 
ing the Society's building, to find what appeared to be a 
cannon, mounted in the entrance hall. As it was aimed 
in the opposite direction he approached and carefully 
examined it. He found no trunnions projecting from it 
for support, but instead, not far from the muzzle, was a 
rod apparently passing through it vertically and termi- 
nating in three surrounding points. " Queer kind of a 
gun, this," he thought, when his eye fell on an attached 
paper with this legend, " Vane from Centre schoolhouse." 
Then he remembered that, in the electrical storm of 
July 8th last, the lightning struck the cupola of the u old 
high school house " (as old residents still style it), doing 
some damage. He remembered another thing, that in 
June, 1870, he took his first walk down High street and 
noticed this camion mounted aloft on the cupola, but 
mistook it for a baseball bat, as have others. But we 


are credibly informed that it was intended to represent 
a telescope. Its largest diameter is four inches, and its 
extreme length four feet and two inches. 

The building, originally erected in 1843 by William 
B. Thomas and Charles Caldwell, at a cost of $7,568.00, 
was remodelled by Mr. Thomas in 1866. At that time 
the cupola was added, with the surmounting vane. War- 
time prices then prevailed, as may be noted in the outlay 
of $21,055.00. Since then, the building has been enlarged 
to double its original size. Some facetious ones have 
styled it " The Siamese Twins,' 7 but failed to designate 
whether " Chang " or " Eng " bore the cupola. 

Fifty-five years ago, baseball had just come into 
prominence as a national game, but it was not so promi- 
nent in school affairs or in the public print as today. As 
an emblem to be displayed on Medford's chief temple of 
learning, the invention of Galileo was certainly more 

Why it was not regilded and replaced after the repairs 
were completed we cannot say. Perhaps, with a modern 
bungalow schoolhouse ($ 1 50,000.00 phis), and other costly 
luxuries, Medford finds herself too poor. 


Directly after the Register's publication of the Towers 
of Medford, another lofty structure was erected which, 
though not standing on Medford ground, is the central 
figure in the group of buildings of the American Woolen 

The last erected is of the substantial construction of 
reinforced concrete, five stories, and occupies the site 
of the wooden " paper mill building " destroyed by fire 
October 18, 1920. The old power-house and iron smoke- 
stack were removed, and in their places are a larger plant 
and a circular chimney rising to a height of one hundred 
fifty-one feet. It is twelve feet eight inches in diameter at 
the base, tapering gracefully to eight feet six inches at 

1921.] THEN AND NOW. 87 

its top. Being built of tile blocks instead of ordinary 
sized bricks, its erection was accomplished in seventeen 
days, the entire work being done from within, with no 
outside scaffolding. The tile are of a light straw color, 
and for the last twenty feet are interspersed with black 
tile, in circular bands and pleasing design. At its com- 
pletion two lightning conductors were placed opposite 
each other upon it, the workmen using the familiar 
method of the " bos'ns chair" to traverse its height. It 
really stands in Somerville territory, near the end, and 
but a few feet from the edge, of that appendix of old 
Charlestown created by legislative enactment in 1754. 

Its foundation is of concrete, eighteen feet square and 
nineteen feet deep upon the underlying bed rock. How 
thick this rock strata is just there we may not say, but 
twenty-six years ago an artesian well was drilled, but a 
few rods away, for nearly two hundred feet in the rock, 
ere a water-bearing stratum was reached. 

It is a noticeable object, as seen from any direction. 
Equally so are the two water tanks, elevated about one 
hundred feet and not ungraceful in shape, that surmount 
the " Riverina Mills." Somehow, as we write, we imagine 
that Captain Sullivan who, in August, 18 18, navigated 
his steamboat just where this towering chimney now 
stands, would, were he to come back today, think some- 
thing had happened in the lapse of one hundred and 

three years. 


In 182 1 there were in Medford 152^ houses and about 
1,500 people. There were 121 barns that sheltered 105 
horses, j8 oxen and 237 cows. 

In 192 1 the population is over 40,000, the oxen are a 
minus quantity, the horses 161, the cows 150. 

It is evident that the milk supply is from outside, but 
what of the transporting force? There were no railroads, 
either steam, horse or electric, a century ago anywhere 
in the country, none in Medford till 1835. 

88 THEN AND NOW. December, 

For the 161 horses to draw, in 1921, there are 156 
"vehicles," but there are 2,329 automobiles, including 
59 trucks, enough to make a solid line nearly seven miles 
long. Such a line would reach through the city from 
Wear to Wellington bridges, with a branch down Main 
street from the square to Somerville line. No wonder, 
with " everybody on wheels," that the pedestrian has 
little chance or safety on the street. 

Twenty years ago the auto was scarcely known. 
Nothing in mechanical history ever increased so rapidly. 
Nothing ever so fostered a spirit of extravagance in 
American people. Thoughtful people are inquiring as 
to results, near or remote. Good servants sometimes 
prove bad masters, and not every employer is wise. 

The population a century ago averaged ten to a 
house ; probably quite a few of the one hundred and fifty 
and a half housed two families, perhaps another few, 
more. Families were larger in those days. 

Medford had its town meeting in its town meeting 
house; and there its coming citizens, the boys, early 
learned wholesome lessons, of which the youth of 1921 
are lamentably ignorant. And on one day in seven the 
townspeople gathered twice in this same town-house^ 
(meetinghouse they called it) for the public worship of 
God, and that, too, in all seasons. Never before 1820 
or 21 was there a stove or fire there. 

A glimpse of the town meeting of 182 1 is worth while. 
The " committee on treasurer's accounts " reported 

the same all fair and correct ... a balance in the treasury 
$742.25 . . . expenses paid by the town last year $3801.64, as on 
file; which having been all considered by the town, Voted — to 
raise the sum of $4500, the present year, to defray the necessary 
expenses of Public worship, Public school, Poor, Highways and 
all other necessary incidentals & the surplus, if any, to be appro- 
priated toward reducing the town debt. 

That this was " good business," is seen by the report, 
a year later, of $1,256.89 in treasury. The town debt 
mentioned was $2,350. One item of this was paid, by 
using the recently acquired " Secomb Fund," the re- 

1921.] THEN AND NOW. 89 

maining $1,650 the treasurer advanced and took up the 
town's note held by the other creditor. As there was due 
from the collector $285 at the end of the fiscal year, there 
remained less than $100 to be provided for. The 
" Secomb Fund " is intact today, and Medford's finances 
of that day show up well. 

Medford, in 182 1, polled just two hundred votes, 
giving her favorite son, Governor Brooks, one hundred 
and seventy-six. Fourteen amendments by the consti- 
tutional convention were carefully considered and all but 
one ratified by eighty-two voters. 

Abner Bartlett was unanimously re-elected as repre- 
sentative but ''begged to decline because of his business 
and professional avocations." The choice of his suc- 
cessor was a different story. Forty-six votes were cast, 
requiring twenty-four for choice. Two had one each, 
Dudley Hall eighteen, and Turell Tufts twenty-six. In 
182 1 the qualifications of a " voter in town affairs" were 

To have been resident a year, to have a free-hold estate of the 
annual income of ten dollars, or any estate of the value of two 
hundred dollars 

In 182 1 the town clerk was paid $30, and u the over- 
seers of the poor $30 for the same period." One dollar 
and a half paid the constable for warning the town 
meeting and $1.75 per day the assessors. "A man for 
work on the highway had $1.50, a man and team, $2.50; 
every day to be ten hours!' Holding no brief for union of 
church and state, we call attention to the fact that in 
1821, "public worship" had the first place in the annual 
civic financial budget. That ended in 1824. Today 
Medford's area is smaller, but its population has in- 
creased twenty-seven times — its expenses seven hundred 
times. No reasonabe person desires a return to outward 
conditions and surroundings of a century ago, the days 
of our grandfathers, yet with our heavily mortgaged 
future in view, which those coming after most surely 
will have to experience, we are led to think and say, "It 
is high time to awake" 



[December, 1921.] 

3n jftlemoriam 


January 31, 1856 — November 2, 1921 


Vice-President since 1899 


May 11, 1856— November 20, 1921 
Vice President, 1907-16 


. . . 1836 — December 3, 1921 
Member in 1897. Honorary in 1918 


July 13, 1856 — December 27, 1921 

Curator and Librarian, 1900-19 

Vice-President, 1920-21 


May 5, 1833 — December 31, 1921 

President, 1901-3 

Historian of Medford, 1905 


:posits go on interest the last day of each month 
Last dividend paid was at the rate of 4/g% 


safe: deposit bo\ 



i /*** 

I rust Dm iy 

l A.M. io 3 P.M. S&lurCtys, 8 A. M. to 12 M.; 7 to 9 I 



: ¥IiN&CO. 







Norcross 'Feel C 




Phone, Wedford 520 


Medford Historical 

Vol. XXV, 1922 


Medford, Mass. 

( >■ 


" V »" ?f ■ V ? •!- 



No. 1. ' 


Medford Shipbuilders . . . . . Frontispiece 
Story of a Medford Piano. Moses W. Mann . . i 

At Medford's Old Civic Center. Eliza M. Gill . n 

How a Medford Ship Was Built .... 15 
An Old Medford Agreement . . . . . iS 

A Revolutionary Parole. L. M. Hastings . . 20 

No. 2. 

Medford Historian's Home . . . Frontispiece 

Medford Radio. Editor . . . . . . 21 

Memorial Day Address. M. L. Bullock . . . 23 

At Medford's Old Civic Center. Eliza M. Gill. . 25 

Medford Municipal Publications. M. W. M. . . 28 

A Remembrance. The Librarian . . . .34 

The Historian's Home. Editor . . . . -37 

A Home-Comer's Opinion. Caleb Swan 39 


No. 3. Editorial Number. 

Views of Meaford, England 

From Medford Oversea .... 

Why Medford .45 

The Historian's Home Coming ..... 47 

As Others Told It 48 

Medford Ship-Building Notes . . . . . 50 

The Medford Indian Monument .... 52 

Indian Monument at West Medford . facing 53 

Medford in 1S37 • .••..• 56 

The Bower ......... 59 

Lines on Revisiting a Favorite Spot. Lincoln Swan 59 



' No. 4. 

First M. E. Church .... 

Medford Church Anniversaries 

Trinity M. E. Church 

West Medford Congregational Church 

Mystic Congregational Church 

Medford Broadsides. Editor 

Our Centennial Number 


Front isp 




















M.I. | U . 


ft^SJT March, 1923 f^, 




tsrgiS'swa'" 'Btes-i-si- ,-> '.um.;ii.- 

"'• . : KC 




REV. E. STUART BEST ) ^ [ ^ [ Frontispiece 



STORY OF A BIBLE . . . . . . . . . 12 

REMEMBRANCES Sarah J. Blar.chard . ... . 15 

SIX MEDFORD WOMEN . . . . . . . .. .' . 20 

A SWEET STORY OF OLD ........ 22 


Entered as second-class matter, under the act of July 16, 1894, 
Medford Station, Boston, Massachusetts. 


Published quarterly (March, June, September, and December) 


Medford Historical Society, 


No. 10 Governors Avenue, Medford, Mass. 
Subscription price, SI. 50 a year, postpaid. Single copies, 40 cents. 

For sale at the Society Rooms and by the Treasurer. 

Publication Committee. 



Editor, MOSES W. MANN. 
Exchange list in charge of Geo. S. T. Fuller, 15 George Street. 

Advertising Manager, Miss E. R. ORNE. 


I give and bequeath to the Medford Historical Society, in 

the city of Medford, Mass., the sum of __Dollars for 

the general use and purposes of said Society. 

(Signed) __ 




REV. E. STUART BEST ) _ . [ Frontispiece 


VIEWS OF MEDFORD ... . . . . . . . 1 

STORY OF A BIBLE . . . . . . . /. . . 12 

REMEMBRANCES Sarah J. Blcmchard . . . . . 15 

SIX MEDFORD WOMEN . . . ...... 20 

A SWEET STORY OF OLD . . . . .... 22 

TO CONTINUE . . .24 

Entered as second-class matter, under the act of July 16, 1894, 

Medford Station, Boston, Massachusetts. 


Published quarterly (March, June, September, and December) 


Medford Historical Society, 


No. 10 Governors Avenue, Medford, Mass. 
Subscription price, SI. 50 a year, postpaid. Single copies, 40 cents. 

For sale at the Society Rooms and by the Treasurer. 

Publication Committee. 



Editor, MOSES W. MANN. 
Exchange list in charge of Geo. S. T. Fuller, 15 George Street. 

Advertising Manager, Miss E. R. ORNE. 


I give and bequeath to the Medford Historical Society, in 

the city of Medford, Mass., the sum of_ Dollars for 

the general use and purposes of said Society. 



1 y 

Joshua T. Foster 
James O. Curtis 


Thatcher Magoun 

Foster Waterman 

William M. Cudworth 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXV. MARCH, 1922. No. 1. 

By Moses W. Mann. 

WERE we to enumerate those of today it would 
appear like wholesale business. The one under 
present consideration was in Medford in 1800-04, and 
possibly the first of its kind in our old town. At that 
time it was comparatively new. It is still not far away 
(as will be shown) but is voiceless, and "in age and 
feebleness extreme." It is only recently that the writer 
learned of it and of its present resting place, and set 
about tracing its history. 

In Vol. VII, No. 2, may be found the excellent story 
of Susanna Rowson and her famous school for young 
ladies, prepared by the late Mary Sargent, and read by 
her before the Historical Society, October, 1903. To 
that the reader is referred for the setting and location 
of this piano while in Medford (though no allusion is 
there made to it), the present writer only remarking that 
Mrs. Rowson's school was housed in a building on High 
street, removed just prior to the erection of Grace Church 
and the Tufts residence. 

Mrs. Rowson's biographer (Rev. Elias Nason) states 
" Mrs. Rowson introduced a piano into her schoolroom 
in the spring of 1799, and young ladies from different 
parts of the country availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity of learning to play this instrument that had taken 
the place of the spinet and harpsichord." 

Mr. Nason, however, tells nothing of its history. Our 
interest in it was aroused by the following, very recently 


published (" History of Haverhill, N.H./'W.F. Whitcher, 
P. 378); — 

First Piano. 

The first piano in Haverhill was owned by Gen. John Mont- 
gomery and was brought to Haverhill some time prior to 1S20. 
This instrument had an interesting history. It was made in Lon- 
don by Christopher Gaverand and had been the property of Prin- 
cess Amelia, daughter of George III. She gave it to a chaplain 
of the royal family, whose daughter married an American by the 
name of Odionne. They brought it to Boston, later it was taken 
to Medford and used in a school kept by Miss Susan Ranson. It 
was later still purchased by General Montgomery and brought to 
Haverhill, where it was in use for some years, and was then taken 
to New Ipswich, where its real historical importance was seen in 
the life work of Jonas Chickering, who was at the age of twenty a 
cabinet maker in that town. 

The piano was out of repair and he was given the task of placing 
it in condition, and though he had never seen such an instrument 
before, he made a careful study and successfully accomplished his 
task, and determined to become a piano manufacturer. He went 
to Boston in 1S1S, and entered the employ of John Osborne the 
only piano maker in that city. He mastered every detail of the 
work, made many improvements, and in 1S23 began business for 
himself in April, and in June of that year finished and sold his first 
piano. This is now in the collection of early musical instruments 
of various types belonging to the New England Conservatory of 
Music in Boston. 

John Montgomery had three daughters in Mrs. Row- 
son's school. He was not " General" till the war of 18 12. 
Recalling the interesting episode in Medford's old meet- 
ing-house (related by Miss Sargent) when Mr. Rowson 
and Mr. Montgomery sang "a powerful duo" in the 
absence of Medford's recalcitrant choir during a visit to 
the school, we looked into the genealogies in the Haver- 
hill history and find them given as — 

1 Mary, b Mar 5, 1790 

2 Ann or Nancy b Apr 8. 1792 

3 Mary* b. Oct 1, 1794 d. Apr 14. 1S17 

* Evidently an error, as Montgomery had a daughter Myra at the school 
with Mary. 


The above first-mentioned Mary would have been 
twelve years of age at her father's visit to Medford in 
1802, and was under Mrs. Rowson's tuition in 1805 after 
the removal of the school to Newton (1804). She mar- 
ried, August 26, 1 8 10, Samuel Bachelder (who was six 
years her senior, and who outlived her ten years). He 
came to New Ipswich, N. H., in 1808, and was engaged 
in cotton manufacture there several years. 

Having digressed a little to show connection with the 
above, let us return to our piano subject again. For in- 
formation we visited the Medford Public Library and 
were shown the beautiful little portrait of Mrs. Rowson, 
from which those in the Register and "Medford Past 
and Present " are reproduced. This was given to Miss 
Sargent by a granddaughter of Mrs. Bachelder, the Mary 
Montgomery who attended Mrs. Rowson's school and 
there (and in her early married life in New Ipswich) used 
this old piano. 

We also took from the library 7 , for a careful reading, 
the " Memoir of Mrs. Rowson," above alluded to. It 
was with some surprise that we found that though writ- 
ten by a Medford author, and published in 1870, it was 
not acquired by our library until March, 1901, and in 
the twenty years since then had been taken out but once 
(March, 19 14). 

Attached to page 99 is the following typewritten 
statement: — 

In 1884 there was given to the Xew England Conservatory of 
Music an old piano — made in London in 17S2. This instrument 
originally belonged to the Princess Amelia, the youngest daughter 
of George III, and she gave it to the Chaplain of the royal family, 
whose daughter married a Mr. Odiorne, an American. She brought 
the piano to Boston. It was bought by General John Montgomery 
and taken to Medford, where it was used, by his daughter, at the 
school for young ladies kept by Mrs. Susanna Rowson. 

This was probably inserted by Miss Sargent (then the 
librarian) at about the time of her preparation of the 


article for the Historical Register. Its opening sen- 
tence confirmed our thought, that possibly the last 
sentence of the Haverhill history extract might be am- 
biguous. A visit to the Conservatory was next in order. 
We were there shown an upright piano, diminutive in 
size as compared with present styles. It was enclosed 
in a case of inlaid wood of most elaborate workmanship. 
It is said to be the first " upright " made, and the most 
valuable in the collection. We thought we had succeeded 
in our quest, but a second visit revealed that we had 
more to learn. By the courtesy of the manager's office 
we were shown the real instrument in question and pre- 
sented with an elaborate Catalogue of the Exhibition, 
Horticultural Hall, January 11-26, IQ02. This exhibi- 
tion was under the auspices of Chickering & Sons, and 
totalled 1,346 distinct enumerations, mainly of musical 
instruments, ancient and modern. The catalogue filled 
seventy-eight pages, and among its illustrations (facing 
page 18) is a view of the piano of which we write, and 
which was numbered 1 (one) in the exhibit and catalogue 
from which we quote : — 

I. Square Piano. 
Made in London by Christopher Ganer for Princess Amelia, 
youngest daughter of George III. She gave it to the chaplain of 
the royal family, whose daughter married a Mr. Odiorne, an 
American, and he brought it to Boston. It was sold in this city to 
Gen. John Montgomery and taken to Medford, Mass., where it 
was used at the school for young ladies kept by Mrs. Susan Raw- 
son, author of "Charlotte Temple." The piano some time after- 
ward was sent to Haverhill, N. H., where it was in use many 
years. Later it was taken to New Ipswich, N. H., where its real 
historic importance in connection with the firm of Chickering and 
Sons begins. Mr. Jonas Chickering, founder of the house, was in 
the last year of his apprenticeship, at the age of nineteen, with a 
cabinet-maker named John Gould, when this old instrument was 
brought to them to be tuned and repaired. The young apprentice, 
though he had never seen a piano, and, of course, was wholly un- 
acquainted with its complicated structure, successfully undertook 
the task of restoring it to usefulness. The piano is five octaves, 
the keyboard extending two-thirds the length of the instrument. 


At a later date organ pipes and bellows were added to the piano 
and placed in the body of the instrument under the strings. 

There at last, after one hundred and forty years, is 
the piano of Princess Amelia which was in Medford in 
the closing year of the eighteenth and three opening- 
years of the nineteenth centuries. Could it but talk, 
what a story it might tell of its first home, the royal 
palace of England. It might also tell that in the very 
year of its making, King George was reluctantly ac- 
knowledging the independence of his rebellious subjects 
overseas, some of them on old High street in Medford. 

It might tell how the royal chaplain's daughter joined 
the erstwhile rebels, becoming an American citizen by 
her marriage ; and of its journey across the Atlantic 
with her. We may not know of her fortunes, or how the 
piano came to be sold. John Montgomery was a Scotch- 
Irish farmer and leading citizen of that new town in the 
north county of Cowass, or Coos, called from the Massa- 
chusetts town on the Merrimack, Haverhill, and proba- 
bly its wealthiest man. George III had fifteen children, 
Montgomery had thirteen, but it was his eldest, instead 
of the king's youngest, who was to be at last the mis- 
tress of the London piano. That she was such, after 
her school days at Medford and Newton and in her early 
married life, is shown by its northern journey to Haver- 
hill and its southern to New Ipswich. No wonder that, 
with its use in school and family, and its various cartings 
about, it needed "tuning and repair" in 1817, when it 
fell into the hands of Jonas Chickering. Referring to 
the history of New Ipswich we find of him — 

When about nineteen years of age, a piano-forte, (the only one 
in town) became useless for want of some person to tune it and 
make some slight repairs; and although it. was the first instrument 
of the kind he had ever seen, yet, prompted by curiosity and his 
interest in musical instruments he undertook the task and after 
much labor succeeded in restoring it to usefulness. 

This apparently trifling matter, no doubt, had an important bear- 
ing on [his] after life, and he soon after, unaided and alone, 


commenced the building of a small organ without any instruction, 
drawings, or hardly any idea of what such an instrument should 
be. He persevered for a while, but could hardly be said to have 
succeeded, and it is only now referred to, to show his bent of mind. 

In reading this latter paragraph (written in 1852) we 
are led to compare it with the preceding extract quoted, 
and query if both refer to one and the same thing. 

A brief description may be in order. The piano itself, 
i.e., the frame, strings and keyboard, is enclosed in a 
rectangular box about twenty-one by sixty inches, about 
eight inches deep. The cover is in two parts, with a flap 
in front, hinged to it, i.e., a two-third section along the 
keyboard. This box has metallic drop handles at each 
end, such as are used on tool-boxes for carrying. This 
box or case of veneered wood rests upon a frame slightly 
larger. This frame consists of four boards about ten 
inches wide tenoned into the square legs at each corner, 
the front faces of which are fluted. From these flutings 
downward to the brass casters they are elaborately 
turned, and the principal member of the pattern reeded. 
The front-board of this frame is cut in the form of an 
elliptic arch, and behind it is placed another, plain and 
straight, and back of this is the bellows above referred to. 

This frame is evidently no part of the original con- 
struction by Christopher Ganer, but must have been the 
work of some American artisan of later years. 

The reader will note that it is now twenty years since 
its exhibition by the Chickerings, since which time it 
has been in a class-room at the Conservatory of Music. 
In some other rooms there, are other of those exhibits, 
and the managers regret the lack of a suitable hall for 
their grouping in general display for examination. Our 
inspection of this old instrument was with some disad- 
vantage, as the rooms are almost continuously in use by 
students, but here is what, by lying on our backs on the 
floor and gazing upward, we found : — 

Occupying about one-third the space enclosed in the 
newer construction, is the bellows, and the remaining 


space is closely packed with three tiers of "stepped" 
organ pipes, all of wood, one for each key, and in seme 
way connected therewith. Some of these pipes are made 
at right angles (instead of straight) because of the limited 
space, and all are placed Jiorizoutally, instead of the usual 
vertical position. Four of these are gone frcm their 
place, but with the disjointed blow-pedal are stored away 
in the old piano case, under the cover. Two of them 
are broken apart at the angle; the other two are intact 
and responded to our breath. One of the music teachers 
expressed his surprise thus, "Why, this isn't a piano at 
all, it's an organ!" But the exhibit card of 1902 still 
lies inside the old case, Princess Amelia Piano. Here 
the query arises, — when did it cease to be a piano? as 
it certainly did when the strings were removed. So, 
in search of information, we went to the Chickerings. 

We were there shown an excellent photograph of a 
Christopher Ganer piano (cover raised showing interior), 
such as this must have originally been, with six legs and 
one pedal. Endorsed on its back was this legend: — 

First Piano-forte ever seen by Jonas Chickering, once the prop- 
erty of Princess Amelia, daughter of George III., now owned by 
Miss Ellen Day Hale, daughter of Dr. Edward Everett Hale, 
Feb., 1916. 

We began to think of the tomb of Columbus, and to 
wonder, "What next? " 

The next was, that we were also there furnished with 
the following, from the editorial page of the Boston Even- 
ing Transcript of August 30, 1S67 : — 

An Historical Piano. 

We are indebted to a correspondent for the following account 
of an Organized Piano, being the first Pianoforte which the late 
Mr. Jonas Chickering ever saw, which is now in the possession of 
Mrs. Samuel Batchelder of Old Cambridge. 

This instrument is remarkable, aside from the circumstances 
above stated, as having belonged to the Princess Amelia, daughter 
of George III. She presented it to her Chaplain. George Odiorne 


of Boston married the Chaplain's daughter in London. The Chap- 
lain gave the instrument to his daughter when she left her native 
land for her home in America. 

The late General J. Montgomery purchased the Piano of Mr. 
Odiorne for his daughter, then a young girl in Mrs. Rawson's 
school in Boston, and afterwards gave it to her when she went to 
reside in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. 

There, accidentally, the cover was broken. A Cabinetmaker 
was sent for to make a new lid, and Jonas Chickering, then an 
apprentice, was sent to examine the Piano for a removal to the 
shop. His look of astonishment and wonder at this revelation of 
a hitherto unknown (to him) musical instrument, can be better 
imagined than described. He seemed utterly unconscious of obser- 
vation while he peered about it, removing and displacing to exam- 
ine the construction, and in it he first saw an Organ, with its various 
pipes and bellows. The Pianoforte and Organ could be used 
together, and were tuned in unison, or they could be played 

Mr. Chickering, a few years since, advised the owner to have a 
new and larger bellows put in, and play the organ by itself, as the 
tones were very sweet and suited to a chamber. His advice was 
followed. Mr. Chickering expressed much pleasure from time to 
time in selecting his best instruments for the lady to whom he was 
indebted for his first study of a Pianoforte. 

This true account will correct the statements of the writer in 
the July number of The Atlantic Montkly on " The Piano in the 
United States," in which he states that the first Piano Jonas Chick- 
ering ever saw was in a battered condition, and that he put it in 
good repair, whereas, the one he first saw was in constant use and 
is a handsome instrument at the present moment, inlaid with satin- 
wood and wreaths of colored wood surrounding the name of 

Christopher Ganer 
Londoni Fecit 


Broad Street 


On reading the above (typed copy kindly furnished 
us, and from which our compositor sets it) we were more 
at sea than ever. We were reminded of the saying of 
some eminent writer, " Language is given us to conceal 
our thoughts." Evidently its first paragraph is edi- 
torially written, the remainder by the " correspondent " 
therein mentioned. But who was he? Does the word 


"writer" (in the closing paragraph) refer to James Parton, 
author of the Atlantic Monthly article, or to the writer 
of the above Transcript article, or were both one and 
the same? The " Mrs. Samuel Batchelder of Old Cam- 
bridge " was the Mary Montgomery of Mrs. Rowson's 
Medford school. This Transcript story tallies with others 
till we read the fourth paragraph, which makes it appear 
that the piano of Princess Amelia had been "organized" 
prior to Jonas Chickering's first sight of it, 1817, in 
New Ipswich. How correct it may be we cannot say. 
It was written fifty years after Chickering's first sight. 
No other writer mentions the organizing save the brief 
mention in the Chickering catalogue of 1902, which 
assigns a later date than 18 17. 

Neither Dr. Hale nor Louis Elson, who were speak- 
ers at the eightieth anniversary exercises of the Chicker- 
ing Company, alluded to anything of the kind as existing 
at that early time. We are inclined to the idea that the 
"look of astonishment and wonder" attributed to the 
young apprentice is purely an embellishment by the 
newspaper writer. As to the next paragraph and Mr. 
Chickering's advice, we will say this: From several ex- 
aminations we have made, we conclude that at some 
time subsequent to its organizing "his advice was fol- 
lowed," and "a larger bellows put in." But in so doing 
the original piano was utterly ^organized. We found 
a section of the bottom of the original instrument had 
been cut out to make room into which the " larger bel- 
lows " could rise when inflated, and which cut shows 
the peculiar composition of a thickness of two and a half 
inches. That action must have ruined the piano as such. 
Perhaps the strings were then removed, or later when 
found useless. How long the owners continued to "play 
the organ by itself " as recommended we cannot say, nor 
yet whether it was thus usable when exhibited in 1902. 
It certainly is not at this present writing, as the keys 
are almost immovable. 

Regarding the other piano, said to have been Princess 


Amelia's, the following communication is self-explanatory: 


Div. American Piano Company 

Boston, December 13, 1921. 
My dear Mr. Mann: — 

At last I have heard from my " authorities" with the result that 
the pretty little story about the Princess Amelia's Piano being in the 
possession of Miss Hale appears to be completely disproved. I am 
rather sorry for our part, but am pleased for your sake, for this 
simplifies your problems in connection with the Christopher Ganer 
Piano at the Conservatory. 

I wrote to the man who had charge of the Historical Musical 
Exhibition, held in Horticultural Hall in 1902, under the auspices 
of Chickering & Sons, and all that he could tell me of the previous 
history of the Christopher Ganer Piano, supposed to have been the 
property of Princess Amelia, is contained in the little catalogue, 
copy of which you have. 

I also communicated with another one of our former officials, 
and he, too, is of the opinion that the Piano of the Princess Amelia 
is either in the Conservatory or in the Art Museum, and feels quite 
sure that no credence should be placed in the statement made to 
me (and passed on to you) that Miss Hale had anything to do with 
the instrument in question. He did, however, say that we restored 
an antique Piano of foreign make for Miss Hale, but there was no 
connection between it and the Piano of the Princess. 

In regard to the somewhat ambiguous statement in the Tran- 
script article, copy of which you have, I am as much at sea as you, 
for we have nothing other than a copy of the article, exactly like 
the one which I gave to you. I am sorry that the information I 
am able to give you is so meagre, but I feel somewhat relieved to 
be in position to set you right on the question of Miss Hale's owner- 
ship of the Princess' Piano. 

Wishing you success with your work, I am, 
Very truly yours, 

Margaret E. Connell, Secretary. 

At the Centennial Celebration at New Ipswich (1850) 
the orator said: — 

Thirty years ago, few ears had been delighted with the sound 
even of the tinkling pianos of that day. ... A great and happy 
change has been wrought in social life. And to whom is it owing? 




Is it not to one of our own citizens ? Do we not remember him as he 
quietly plied the saw, the plane and the lathe by yonder hill? It 
is Chickering. 

Mr. Chickering was there present, having then con- 
structed eleven thousand pianos since his restoration in 
1S1 7 of this London-made piano, which was the incentive 
to his life's w T ork. 

And here we leave the old instrument that was once 
a Medford piano, with the suggestion that some one fol- 
low 7 up our investigation and get from this old " organized 
piano " more of its history, which is really something 
unique and of remarkable interest. 


By Eliza M. Gill. 

Old Medford has passed away and a new one stands 
in her place. We see the change in many ways. Once 
a town with a small unmixed population, now a city w 7 ith 
rapidly increasing numbers of many peoples. The quiet 
that prevailed after the decline of ship building has given 
way to the rush and scream of the electrics and auto 
machines, and the dignified demeanor of former citizens 
is replaced by the bustling nervous energy fostered by 
modern conditions. Houses of historic association on 
the old highways have been demolished and hundreds 
of homes for our new 7 citizens are being built in places 
formerly never dreamed of as residential districts. 

Even the physical aspect of the place has become 
altered. The river above Cradock bridge has been 
changed and some of the marshes are disappearing. 
Spot pond has a different look, and the forests ground 
it, where were once w 7 ood-cutters' paths, are now the Mid- 
dlesex Fells pierced by roads for pleasure driving. Hills 
have been levelled and great boulevards laid out on all 
sides that offer wonderfully fine view 7 s at all seasons, by 
day or night. In this direction w 7 e can honestly confess 
we see the march of improvement. 


For those who have known former generations the 
following facts are presented concerning a few houses 
and those who lived in them. 

Much about the Watson house, that was taken down 
a number of years ago, has appeared in the Register, 
still there are a few items we can give our readers before 
we write finis to the story of this old house. 

Although it was of unpretentious appearance, it had 
an air of solidity, security and comfort — very desirable 
qualities in a place for home making and living — and 
it never seemed to lack tenants. We seldom find one 
tenant occupying the whole house, the east and west 
half were generally let to different families. 

It was pre-eminent among the old houses of Medford 
for the varied and interesting personality of those who 
lived there. 

Perhaps all will remember that the most distinguished 
person who made it his roof-tree was John Brooks, and 
that he entertained Washington there. When he left, 
Joseph Barrel, Jr., and his wife made their home for 
several years in the east part, the part the former had 

The name Barrel immediately attracts our attention, 
and we wonder why a scion of that well-known family 
should have made this unpretentious house his dwelling 
place. The records of the following marriages in a way 
afford an answer as to why he was drawn thither, and we 
have elsewhere concluded that Medford in a much earlier 
time had many attractions to draw here those who were 
looking for a home. 

Timothy Fitch, merchant of Nantucket and Boston, 
and one-time owner of the Watson house, and Abigail 
Donnahew of Medford were married by the Rev. Eben- 
ezer Turell, August 19, 1746. There were several 
daughters by this marriage, and Hannah married Joseph 
Barrel of Boston, November 26, 1 77 1. 

John Brown Fitch of Boston and Hepziah Hall of 
Medford were married by Rev. David Osgood, Janu- 


ary. 27, 1785. In this marriage triangle of the Barrel, 
Fitch and Hall families we understand why Joseph 
Barrel, Jr., became a resident of our town. He married 
Electa Bingham of Boston, also given as of Stockbridge, 
the Rev. S. West performing the ceremony July 5, 1795. 
(Register, Vol. XIX, p. u.) 

Hannah Barrel, sister of Joseph, Jr., was married by 
the Rev. Jedediah Morse of Charlestown, February 8, 
179S, to Benjamin Joy, a well-known physician of Boston. 

The senior Barrel was a well-known wealthy Boston 
merchant who had a fine house and an elegant garden 
on Summer street, when it was a residential section of 
the city, where there were many fine places. The estate 
was well laid out, the garden embellished with fish ponds, 
and when, toward the end of the eighteenth century, he 
sold this place and moved to Cobble Hill, Charlestown 
(Somerville was not set apart from Charlestown till 
1S42), he built for himself a fine brick mansion, a crea- 
tion of Bulfinch, and duplicated in some ways the garden 
of the Summer street residence. 

The glass in the house is said to have been from the 
first works erected in Boston. This beautiful place was 
called Poplar Grove. Benjamin Joy sold the estate in 
18 1 6 to the Massachusetts General Hospital for the Mc- 
Lean Asylum for the Insane. The mansion was used 
as quarters for the officers of the institution, and addi- 
tions were built each side of the central portion. All 
traces of the estate and even the hill no longer exist. 
For an interesting item concerning the Barrel family, 
and one concerning Medford, our readers are referred to 
Francis Hill Bigelow's "Historic Silver of the Colonies 
and Its Makers," pp. 302, 303, 363. 

After this digression, which we trust is pardonable, 
believing it to be correlative and not irrelevant to this 
sketch, we are back in Medford in the old Watson house 
again and find John Usher of our town preceding 
Barrell, Jr., as a tenant. 

The old meeting-house had seen under its shadow, 


living in this house, a Revolutionary soldier who was a 
friend of Washington, and as a counter-balance, also 
was a Loyalist, who as one, was an enemy of Washing- 
ton, living here at an earlier date, and now, about 1800, 
was to be neighbor to another of the latter class. (Regis- 
ter, Vol. XV, p. 97). 

Our incomparable chronicler* noted that Mr. Green 
took the whole house and for a while let the west part 
to the Wyley family from Georgia. Mrs. Green removed 
to Boston at the death of her husband, 1809, an d the 
Misses Abby and Mary Hall, sisters of Nathaniel Hall, 
who lived in the Secomb house, rented the east part. 
A little later these ladies exchanged their quarters with 
the Swans, who about this time became owners of the 

About 1 81 5 the west half was occupied by the wife of 
Captain T revet of the revenue service. She was a 
daughter of Major Warner of Medford. A Mr. Warner 
lived on the Bishop lot where later the first Thatcher 
Magoun erected the building now the home of the Public 
Library. Were these Warners identical? 

Two years later Mrs. Green returned to the west half, 
remaining until 1822, when, with the Gilchrist family, 
she moved to Charlestown, N. H. 

This part then became the home of widowed sisters 
from Georgia, Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Wallace, who were 
cousins of Mrs. William R. Gray of Boston. (Register, 
Vol. XXI, p. 28.) 

The old meeting-house next had for its neighbor one 
w r hose religious tenets were quite unlike those of the 
people who worshipped within its walls. A French 
Canadian, a music teacher whose name was Noreau, had 
a child born to whom the name was given of Jean Bap- 
tiste Napoleon Noreau. What a thrill must have run 
through the frame of the Puritan building when it be- 
came aware that the child had been christened by a 
Roman Catholic priest ! 

* Caleb Swan. 


In 1825 Abner Bartlett and his family were the next 
tenants, and lived here many years. 

The history of this family is too well known for us to 
make further mention of it, and we only wish to add that 
Sarah Bartlett, widow of Abner, during the period of 
our Civil War, knit for the soldier boys three hundred 
and seven pairs of woolen socks, a feat not surpassed by 
the busy knitters of recent days. Mrs. Bartlett was then 
several years beyond four score. 


A half century has nearly passed since the Pilgrim, 
the last Medford-built ship, was launched from Captain 
Foster's ship yard. To speak of ship building in Med- 
ford today is to tell of a lost art, and of the many craft 
here built, none are now known to be afloat. But re- 
minders of them come to us occasionally. 

The specifications of one, built seventy-five years ago, 
we reproduce in print, regretting that it could not be 
a facsimile of the elegant quill script of the original. It 
is the only " specification " we have ever seen, or that 
we know to exist, of a Medford-built ship. We present 
it entire, as worthy of a place in the historic literature 
of Medford. Representative of a vanished industry, it 
is a witness of the careful and thorough work done on 
the banks of the Mystic in days agone. 

We call attention to the group of Medford ship build- 
ers shown in our frontispiece, especially Mr. Cudworth, 
the builder of the Horsburgh. 

Description of Ship u Horsburgh." 

All the frame white oak and Hackmetack, Hackmetack used for 
all the [k] night-heads, except one next to Stem and some timbers 
in bow cants and top timbers & upper deck knees and hanging 
knees between decks. 


Timbers on the keel moulded 15 inches at gunwale 6 inches 

rooms 24 inches floor & navel timbers sided n & 11^ 

inches & timbers sided at gunwale from 9 to io4 inches. 

Size of Keelson 15 x 15^ inches — a copper bolt in every other 
floor timber through floor timber & keel before keelson was put 
on — \ of 1 inch & £ of |ths and then a copper bolt thro' every floor 
timber whole length of Ship, thro' keelson, floor timber and Keel. 

One bolt of 1^ inch through every scarph of keel and keelson — 
all the rest of i-J inch — Stern knee and false stem fastened with 
i\ & 1^ inch copper as high as copper fastenings goes. 

Rider 13 x 13^- inches fastened with iron bolts of \\ inch, 
24 inches apart. 

Ceiling on the floor 3^- inches thick of white oak — a spike in 
every other timber & a treenail in every other timber — treenails 
drove from inside, two thick streaks to go over floor timber joints 
7 inches thick of white oak & doubled forward & aft so as to make 
about same thickness forward & aft as amidships : fastened with 
an iron bolt drove from inside thro' every other timber of § & a 
copper bolt thro' every other timber of | inch and then a locust 
treenail thro' every other timber drove from inside making two 
fastenings thro' every other timber & then three six inch yellow 
pine streaks above the 7 inch and then 5 inch yellow pine to go to 
the clamps & four six inch yellow pine clamps carried round the 
bow & aft doubled, the six inch streaks fastened ; a spike in every 
other timber & a locust treenail in every other timber drove from 
the outside & thro' ceiling, wedged outside and inside & a Jth cop- 
per bolt in every third timber — the 5 inch streaks fastened; a spike 
in every other timber and a locust treenail in every other timber 
drove from outside & thro' ceiling same as the 6 inch — one tree- 
nail thro' every other timber &af copper bolt in every third timber 
— the 4 lower deck clamps are fastened: a spike in every timber 
and an iron bolt in every timber ; one half the bolts § & \ of J inch. 

Hanging Knees sided *]\ & 8 inches of white oak fastened with 
\ of \\ inch & £ of inch iron, 9 bolts in a knee 

Lower deck beams sided from 14^ to 17 inches & moulded 14 
to 14^ inches in centre & 10 to n inches at the ends all of yellow 

Lower deck knees sided 7 inches & fastened with i-J & 1 inch 
iron- — fastenings drove from outside through bends &c 

Lower deck Waterways, yellow pine, 14 inches deep and 
moulded on underside 14 inches thick. 

Streak next to waterway on lower deck 9 inches thick on inside, 
fastened ; a bolt through every other timber drove from outside & 
clinched on the inside Sc a bolt thro' every other timber drove from 
bends outside & clinched on the inside of waterway — making the 
fastenings of waterway in two streaks of bends 




One thick streak above lower deck waterway S inches thick and 
a blunt bolt in every other timber drove from the inside of ^ths & 
a bolt in every other timber drove from outside & clinched on the 
inside of Jths 

The S inch streak is bolted edgewise, down thro' waterway and 
bolts about 3 feet apart. 

Upper deck clamp, 5 inches thick and tapered to 4 inches to top 
of thick streak above waterway 

The upper deck clamp and next streak below have a spike in 
every timber and a f iron bolt in every timber where there is no 
chain bolt. 

Upper deck beams are sided from 14 to 16 inches and moulded 
from 8 to §\ inches in centre and from 7^ to S inches at ends. 

Upper deck plank of soft pine 5J inches wide & 3J inches thick 
fastened with composition spikes 

Quarter deck 3 inches thick 5^ inches wide fastened with com- 
position spikes 

Upper deck knees of hackmetack, sided 6 inches, fastened with 
1 inch iron 

Hanging knees under upper deck beams sided 8 to 9 inches with 
9 one inch bolts in each knee 

Plankshier 5 inches thick well fastened down with iron & a 
\ copper bolt thro' every stanchion 

Rail 5 inches thick 

Bottom plank 3^- inches thick to the round of the bilge and then 
4 inch white oak except 6 streaks of yellow pine 4 in. thick, 3 of 
the 6 yellow pine streaks under wales to flush out. The 5 lower 
wales & the upper wale, making six, white oak — the rest yellow 
pine 7 inches wide. 

Upper streks 5^ inches wide & 3J inches thick each butt 
fastened with a copper spike 

Ship Horsburgh built by Hayden & Cudworth at Medford for 
Dan 1 . C. Bacon of Boston, Mass. launched May 1 1847, Carpenters 
tonnage 577II Tons 

Government tonnage about 550 Tons. 

Dimensions Carpenter's Measurement 

Length on deck 142 feet 

Breadth of beam — Carpenters' measure 29 ,, 8J in 
Whole depth 20 ,, 9 ,, 

Built with a half poop cabin, about 18 feet long with a house 
running six feet forward of poop, with a state room on one side & 
entry on the other side, next to gangway. 

Has American Rigging made by Mr Sewall — 

Cotton duck for heavy sails & twine duck for light sails 


Dimensions Ship Horsburgh's Spars 

Main Mast 71 ft. Head 11-6. — Main Yard 62 ft. arms 2-6 

„ Topmast 3S ,, ,, 6-6 „ Topsail „ 49 „ „ 3-9 

# , Top. gt. ,, 19-6 & 9 Pole ,,Top.Gt:„ 34 ,, ,, 2- 

Fore Mast 65-6 Head 10-6 Fore Yard 56 ,, ,, 2-4 

,, Topmast 36- „ 6- „ Top Gt. 43-6 „ 3-6 

„ T. Gt. „ 1S-6 12-2 & 7-6 Pole ,, T. Gt. 31 „ 1-9 

Mizen Mast 63 Head S-6 Cross jack 44 ,, 3- 

„ Topmast 2S ,* 4-9 M z T. Gt. : 34 „ 2-S 

„ ,, G. mast 14-6 9-6 & 5 Pole ,, ,, ,, 23 „ 1-6 

Bowsprit out board 26. Royal Yds 23 ,, 21 & 16 arms 1-4, 1-2, &i 

Jib Boom 36 Head 2-6 

Flying Jib boom 39. Head 3-6 

Spanker Boom 3S Gaff 2S & 4-6 end. 


A recent accession to the Historical Society's library 
is a record of early conveyances of land and buildings, 
carefully copied from the books of the Middlesex Regis- 
try by the late John H. Hooper. It comprises one hun- 
dred and four pages (eight and one-half by eleven and 
one-half inches), fifty-three lines on each, as the ruling is 
but three-sixteenths of an inch apart. 

It was certainly "some job" Mr. Hooper did. Any 
who doubt will be quickly convinced by an examination 
of the ancient record books, with their quaint spelling 
and queer chirography, now carefully preserved under 
silk tissue. 

The reading of those old deeds certainly refutes some 
of the statements in the History of Medford, especially 
that of " the lands of Medford were apportioned to the 
first settlers by decision of the Court of May, 1629." 
The librarian here calls attention to page 24, Vol. XVII, 
Register, where, in " Notes About Town," certain bounds 
and marking points were mentioned, and would be pleased 
to have some expert now locate them after a careful read- 
ing of the following from Mr. Hooper's transcript: — 

It is also agreed that there shall be a common landing place upon 
Stephen Willis' land, in his second division, by the River, free to 

,. ! 




all the proprietors of the farm, and a convenient way to it, for 
which landing place and highway there shall be allowed in his lot 
ioo poles. Also a highway to lie in common from the Country 
road to Joshua Brooks' land. 

24-10-16S0. Agreement between Caleb Brooks on the one 
part, and John Hall, Thomas & Stephen Willis, John Whitmore, 
Stephen & John Francis, on the second part, that the line that has 
been for a long time in controversy between the abovesaid Brooks' 
land and the land purchased of Edward Collins by the parties afore- 
said, is now agreed upon by both parties, bounded and marked out 
as follows : — From a great tree standing at the S. W. corner of 
an orchard lately planted by John Whitmore being in the line be- 
tween the abovesaid Brooks & Whitmore and so upon another 
great black Oak tree being in said line as is above mentioned be- 
tween said Brooks and Whitmore, and from that in a straight line 
to a stake standing up in the line between said Brooks and Stephen 
& John Francis' 2 a. of Clay land, then from said stake to a little 
black oak, and from that to an old shed within a rod of said Brooks' 
Meadow, then from said shed to a little black Oak bush by the 
River, upon a straight line, said Shed is the S. or S. W. corner of 
the 2 a. of Clay land above-mentioned, where the line is now 
staked out and agreed upon. Upon the condition of placing the 
line as above-mentioned, it is agreed that the said Brooks is to have 
a landing place of four cords of wood front upon the River, beg. 
at or near the bush close to the River which is the line on the E. 
or S. E. between said Brooks and Francis. This landing place is 
upon the land of Stephen & John Francis. Also it is agreed that 
Stephen & John Francis shall have a convenient highway through 
Thomas Willis' land, into the said 2 a. of Clay land, the said high- 
way to come into Thomas Willis' land to be upon the S. E. corner 
of John Whitmore's field, from a highway that goes from a landing 
place at or near Thomas Willis' pasture, and it is agreed that for 
the highway above-mentioned, Thomas W T illis is to have a landing 
place at or near his own pasture. 

Here appears an amicable settlement of a boundary 
dispute in which seven early residents of (West) Med- 
ford were concerned, and which resulted in the establish- 
ment of the way now known as Canal street, a hundred 
and ten years before the canal was even thought of. 

The map of early Medford, also made by Mr. Hooper 
from the data he thus secured, is invaluable, showing as 
it does the earliest division of the Cradock farm (which 


20 A REVOLUTIONARY PAROLE. [March, 1922.] 

was the earliest Medford), and also the location of the 
dwellings of those early townsmen, seven of whom are 
above named. As in some of the deeds plans are men- 
tioned, it is a source of regret that none have been pre- 
served to show the bounds thus agreed upon. The " old 
shed " that was " within a rod of said Brooks' meadow 
but on the coryier of the Francis two acres of claylaiid " 
has long ago disappeared. But the " clayland " is there 
today, and a few years since, when the river was dredged, 
a " black-oak bush " was torn out of the bank, which by 
the river's wearing had changed a little. A ten-inch 
piece of it lies upon the table before the writer. It 
squares to two inches, and is perfectly sound. It may 
be the same that Joshua Brooks measured his " four cords 
of wood landing place " from, thus gaining thirty-two 
feet more frontage on the river. 


British officers promise to remain in the quarters 
assigned, within the limits:- — 

Beginning at Swan's shop on Charlestown Neck, the 
Cambridge road up to the crossway to Fort No. 3, and 
from Learned's tavern the Cambridge road on to the 
common to the Menotomy road, up said road to Cooper's 
tavern, taking in the Menotomy pond, but not to pass 
the beach on the south, west, or north sides thereof, from 
Cooper's tavern down to the east end of Benjamin Tuft's 
house in Medford, and from Medford bridge the Boston 
road to Swan's shop, the first-mentioned bound. The 
intermediate roads are within the parole, and the back 
yards of the respective quarters to the distance of eighty 
yards from them. 
Dated December 13, 1777. 

Original in Boston Public Library. O'Callaghan, Burgoyne's 
Orderly Book, 176. 


X - _ 


2 '•'' 

1 = 



The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXV. JUNE, 1922. No. 2. 


A YEAR ago the Register (Vol. XXIV, p. 38) 
made mention of the " devil's fiddle " craze spread 
by the boys of fifty years before, which was the precur- 
sor of the telephone. We were then constrained to add 
a few words about the wireless telephone, quoting from 
the Boston Transcript (June 1 1) concerning the " wireless 
concerts" given on Wednesday evenings at Medford 

Mention also was made (Vol. XVIII, p. 77) of the erec- 
tion of " Medford's sky-scraper," the radio tower. 

Events follow each other in rapid succession and make 
history quickly in modern days. The little laboratory 
erected in 19 16 has been twice enlarged, and a larger 
factory of most modern construction erected on College 
Avenue, where once was " Pansy park." 

There is something doing every evening on the north- 
ern slope of old Walnut-tree hill, some years called Col- 
lege hill, but now widely known as "Amrad Station 
WGI of the American Radio and Research Corpora- 
tion " at Medford Hillside. 

The daily newspapers devote several columns to the 
subject of wireless telephoning, which has come to be 
styled radio, and which has a vocabulary of its own. 
For instance, the transmission of the words spoken into a 
receiver are from the top of the three-hundred-foot tower 
" broadcasted." Receiving outfits may be purchased at 
moderate price, or constructed by ingenious amateurs. 
All about the city we see evidences of these in the "an- 


tennae " strung from convenient chimney-tops, and the 
occupants of the dwelling "listen in." 

The programs given for each evening in our local 
papers show a diversity of subjects from " Bed-time 
Stories" for children to "Today's Economic Situation" 
and " Good Government," while each evening has its 
musical selections, vocal and instrumental. 

On Sunday evenings some clergyman there thus 
speaks to a larger audience than any church edifice 
could hold. As a matter of fact (March 12) the pastor 
of First M. E. Church, Medford, Rev. D. Harold Hickey, 
having preached on " The Jewel and Its Case " in the 
church, went with a portion of the choir and repeated 
the same. The requisite apparatus being installed in 
the church auditorium, the congregation taxing its capa- 
city there heard sermon and music a second time. It 
was a fitting climax in that church's history of a hun- 
dred years. 

But who of those whose educational advantages were 
limited to the three Rs, or lived before the advent of " Old 
Prob " (otherwise the Weather Bureau) could understand 
the following? — 

Amrad is broadcasting official weather reports from WGI. The 
broadcasting is on 4S5 meters, as required by the regulations and is 
preceded by music to enable listeners to tune in. 

It is evident there is now a fourth R, brought largely 
about by a student of Tufts College. But it is a branch of 
education that Mr. Tufts, the owner of the old bleak hill, 
who said he would "put a light on it," little dreamed of. 
We do not recall that any sermon by any Medford 
clergyman (or other) has been reproduced in our pages. 
Having listened to that of Memorial Sunday in Trinity 
Church, which was repeated that evening and broad- 
casted at WGI, the Register is preserving it for the 
future, trusting that it will be read at the preacher's boy- 
hood home in Old England, and by others in future days 
when those who on May 28 " listened in " may have 

1922.] 23 


Substance of address by Maurice Luke Bullock, Minister of Trin- 
ity Methodist Episcopal Church, West Medford, broadcasted from 
the Amrad Station WGI of the American Radio and Research Cor- 
poration, Medford Hillside, Mass., Sunday evening, May 2S, 1922. 

A Nation's Memorial Day. 

We are recognizing Memorial Day this year as being 
more significant than ever before. It is different from 
the other national holidays. No noise of guns and ex- 
citing fireworks, no demand for a safe and sane Memorial 
Day, but the emphasis is on reverence, honor and re- 
spect. The men and boys of the sixties have been 
honored through all the years on this day. And in 
recent years tens of thousands of new dead have been 
added to the lists, making the day more meaningful 
than ever. 

We have new reasons for observing Memorial Day. 
The old veterans, to whom the day has always meant so 
much, have been passing away rapidly. The day was 
being given over increasingly to sports and diversions. 
But the new sacrifices on the fields of battle for the coun- 
try have brought our people to a rededication of the day. 
No longer do we leave the loving task to the brave sur- 

vivors of the Civil War. We still follow the Grand 
Army in the work of decorating the graves of our dead. 
But we see it now as a common privilege. This present 
generation with honor and reverence remembers those 
who have perished honorably for the sake of America. 
The day with its duties is essentially patriotic. A 
higher appreciation of country must follow a fitting re- 
membrance of the price paid in blood. Such a remem- 
brance is vital for us who remain to carry 7 on. The heart 
of the nation is softened, and sympathy and unselfishness 
are promoted. In such a spirit we can be thoughtful in 
our observance. We cannot think of it as a day of 
revelry and frolic in those thousands of homes where 





there are vacant places. Nor can we believe that those 
who survived the tempests of battle will be anxious for 
mere pleasure on that day. It is a Holy Day, when we 
keep green the memory of those " whose tents on fame's 
eternal camping ground are spread," when we try to get 
into fellowship with the spirit that made those men and 
women heroes and patriots. Our civil liberty will never 
be safe if we forget them. 

Memorial Day has a forward look. We cannot con- 
sider those who stood and fought victoriously without 
considering their successors through the years. The 
immortal Gettysburg speech voices this thought. There 
is an unfinished work, to which we must dedicate our- 
selves, and "from these honored dead we must take in- 
creased devotion to that cause for which they gave the 
last full measure of devotion." That is the spirit in 
which we should observe Memorial Day. Proud as we 
are of our huge populations, our increasing wealth, our 
magnificent cities, our intellectual and scientific achieve- 
ments, we must remember that if the nation is not bound 
together with a sincere piety she will perish. Memorial 
Day appeals to us for the development of all that is pure 
and good. 

On Tuesday next we are challenged to prove ourselves 
as patriots who are worthy of the huge sacrifices made. 
We venture to say that the dead would, if they could, 
tell us that they died for a great cause. They did not 
die that we might permit liberty to degenerate into 
license, that we might indulge in class hatred, racial 
hatred, and forget the surging passion for American 
unity which impelled them to meet death. They did 
not die that we might live in riotous extravagance and 
mad pleasure, neglectful of the multitudes in sorrow and 
want at our doors. They did not die that we might 
develop laziness in our industries, neglect of worship, 
irreverence for the flag, and various red orgies of dis- 
loyalty. If on Memorial Day we stand reverently before 
the tomb of him who died at Saratoga or St. Mihiel, or 


Gettysburg or in the Argonne, and in humility think of 
the sacrifice and ask why it was made, the answer will 
write itself on our hearts. We want to commemorate 
the day, so that its message of present duty, its call to 
homage, its promise of immortality, may lead us into a 
higher type of patriotism for the sake of God and country. 

By Eliza M. Gill. 

Referring to the former article in last Register, 
relating to the Watson house, John Usher should have 
been the successor of Joseph Barrel, Jr. The first word 
in third line of page 14 should have been omitted, mak- 
ing the reading thus — "as a counterbalance, also a 
Loyalist/' etc. The Mrs. Wallace mentioned should be 
Mrs. Savage. 

With these corrections we will leave the Watson 
house, with its notable memories, and speak of the house 
on Rural avenue, the residence of the late General Samuel 
C. Lawrence, who was Medford's first mayor. It was of 
more recent construction than others we have noted, and 
was built by Samuel Train for his daughter Rebecca, 
who married George Lemist. 

While the Lemist family was there, the house was 
noted as being the social center for Medford's best fami- 
lies, and the w r riter recalls the complaint of one who said, 
" When the Lemists left Medford there was no society." 
Many fine parties were given in that house, and one has 
only to look over the pages of Blanchard the stable 
keeper's ledger to see how gay and select our old town 
was at one time. You will read there the names of well- 
known people who gave parties, those who attended 
them, and learn that Mr. Blanchard's patrons went in 
good style, in hacks or sleighs, as the seasons permitted. 
You will also learn who hired hacks to go to Boston to 
attend the theatre. There is wonderful reading between 
the lines of old diaries and account books. 


Mr. Lemist sold to Mr. Flint, who afterward, residing 
there awhile, moved with his family to California. 

The next owner and occupant was a bachelor who 
was non compos mentis and of peculiar ways. This Mr. 
May was a man of wealth, who never was seen in public 
unattended. He went regularly with his coachman to 
the services of the First Trinitarian Congregational 
Church. The young people, with more thought of fun 
than pity for his misfortune, called him " Smiling May," 
for he was accustomed to talk to himself, and indulged 
in facial contortions. 

The age of the writer encompasses the time of the 
two latter occupants of this house. 

The story of the house in our day called the Train 
house has been fully told in the Register. Samuel 
Train was very fond of telling the story how one day he 
sat on the sidewalk of the Bigelow property, looked 
across the street and wished he might own the house he 
was gazing at. In 1828 his youthful wish was realized 
when he purchased the estate, and it was the home of 
the good deacon for forty-six years. 

The house of Benjamin Hall, Sr., was inherited by his 
daughter Hepzibah, Mrs. Fitch, who sold it in 1833 to 
Dr. Daniel Swan for §5,000, " House, garden, orchard 
and a small piece of land in front by the river." The 
people of that period were careful, if they did not live in 
a ten-acre lot, to have a good view around them and 
ample space. 

This house and one west from it, both now gone, 
were of the five Hall houses which faced the road to 
Woburn in the same sociable, neighborly way as three of 
them do today below Governors avenue. 

The home of Dr. Swan, the ^beloved and benevolent 
physician, is remembered by many today. I attended 
the auction sale of the doctor's household goods with 
my mother, and noticing a very fine set of china, asked 
her to buy it, and was much disappointed that she did 
not. It was purchased by George Barr, who also bought 


the Royall house, intending to make it his home, but 
gave up the project as it was not favored by his wife. 

Our family had been patrons of Dr. Swan, and my 
mother was given a case containing many small glass 
vials filled with what seemed to be tiny sugar plums 
to us children. As they were not medicated no harm 
resulted to us by playing with them. 

Nathaniel Hall, who lived in the Secomb house, had a 
later residence on his farm in the house now the farm- 
house on the Lawrence estate. He was son of Willis 
Hall, and married Joanna Cotton Brooks. Their son, 
Peter Chardon Hall, married Ann Rose, daughter of 
Joseph and Ann Rose Swan, and lived on the old place. 

My memory of this old house goes back to the time 
when I went there to visit my school friend, gentle Jennie 
Hall, who moved from Medford, and died early of con- 
sumption. There were several other daughters in this 
family. Little did I think then, as a young school girl, 
what interesting facts concerning this place were to 
come to me in later years. (Register, Vol. XVI, p. 18.) 

One house on the other side of the river we will give 
a little notice. The George L. Stearns house on the 
east side of Walnut-tree hill was, previous to 1827, the 
residence of James Hall. It was bought by Capt. John 
King who, about 1840, sold the place to Mr. Rae, whose 
daughter was a pupil at Miss Bradbury's private school. 
Mr. King's family moved to Touro avenue, and in this 
house, now standing, lived many years. There his daugh- 
ter, Harriet Winslow King, was born, who married 
Dudley Cotton Hall. 

Mr. Rae sold his property to his son, who in turn sold 
it to George L. Stearns. This latter owner developed it 
into a fine place, and it has been known as the Evergreens 
in recent years. Through its hospitable doors have 
passed many distinguished people, and we may count it 
as a place of high thinking. (Register, Vol. XVI, p. 2 1 ). 

28 Dune, 


The earliest of such to be printed that comes under 
our notice is " Receipts and Expenditures " of the town 
for the year ending February i, 1835, i.e., for the preced- 
ing fiscal year. It was a thin pamphlet of twenty-four 
pages, including the list of tax payers, resident and non- 
resident being listed separately. 

In later years were added brief reports of the various 
town officers, and recommendations made by them. At 
intervals the valuation list made by the assessors was 
included. A collection of these may be found in the 
Public Library. The issues of several years are grouped 
into one volume, and though at the time substantially 
bound, are in need of rebinding, owing to the deteriora- 
tion of the leather. 

Our first acquaintance with such Medford output was 
in the spring of 1871, when the constable left at our 
home the warrant for the annual town meeting — "March 
meeting" we called it then — accompanied by the "Town 
book," or reports of the preceding year of 1870. The 
town meeting was then thus " warned " at ever}- dwelling 
within its limits. 

Medford had then a population of 5,517, having more 
than doubled since 1838, when its first printed report 
was issued. The tax rate (1870) was $13.60 per thousand, 
there were 899 dwellings (61 being double), 1,480 ratable 
polls and 1,403 resident tax payers, including 747 who 
paid poll tax only, which was then $1.50. 

In that issue, thirty-four pages covered the tax payers 
list, forty-six the financial statements. The reports of 
various departments fill nearly one hundred pages, and 
ask for an appropriation for 187 1 of $88,468.56. Med- 
ford had the previous year built its water works. The 
town debt, exclusive of water bonds, was $59,000, funded 
over a period of nineteen years, with a balance in the 
treasury of $21,386.09, with $2,000 due from the state. 
The town's property was listed $150,596.48, the most 
valuable parcel being the high school house {i.e., the 


front section of present Centre school) and land, $25,000. 
One piece of property listed, the hearse, $400, the town 
or city no longer owns. 

No person's name appears among the town officers as 
sexton, nor yet the title ; there was then no " Cemetery 
Committee," the selectmen attended to such duty. They 
(that year) recommended the consolidation of the select- 
men, highway supervisors, and overseers of the poor into 
one board of five members, instead of the former three 
boards of three, which was done, and so continued under 
the town government. 

Receiving such a statement of town affairs certain 
days before the town-meeting day, citizens had oppor- 
tunity, and thoughtful tax payers scrutinized the pages 
carefully, and came to town meeting prepared to discuss 
proposed measures, their need and cost, and vote accord- 
ingly. If, after consideration, work was intrusted to 
their execution, there w r as reasonable chance of its being 
done within the appropriation. Those w r ere the days of 
actual cost, rather than "cost plus " of more recent date. 

To the average reader the "town report" is rather 
dry reading matter, but to the citizen of average means, 
who by industry and thrift is striving for the ownership 
of a home and finds the present heavy taxation a burden, 
an examination of the account of public expenditure is 
of real interest. 

Allusion has been made to the report of 1870. We 
have before us our entire lot for fifty years. They are 
not cast in one mold, though their pages are of uniform 
size. Some have details omitted by others; some reports 
are prolix, others very brief. A few have the records of 
town meetings. Some make especial note of some public 
enterprise to the neglect of other. For the year 1890 
the book is of over six hundred pages, the valuation list 
occupying one-third. That year and the next the town 
had six voting precincts for elections, the precursor of 
what was coming. The census of 1890 gave 11,790 as 
Medford's population. 


In 18S5 a petition was presented to the General Court 
from inhabitants of West Medford, asking that a division 
of the town be made, and that the western portion be 
incorporated as a new town under the name of Brooks. 
Medford had then a population of 9,041. The petitioners 
at this hearing set forth " that they were opposed to a 
city form of government and desired separation in order 
to retain the management of their prudential affairs in 
the hands of the many, and not delegate all their rights 
and privileges to the control of a few." The hearings 
before the legislative committee, to whom it was referred, 
together with arguments of counsel, form interesting 
reading, published as it was in separate volumes, that of 
the petitioners 171 pages, that of the remonstrants 203. 
Five successive efforts were made toward this end in as 
many years without success. The fourth effort, that 
of 1888, came nearest success. Though a majority of 
the Committee on Towns reported leave to withdraw, a 
substitute report " to incorporate the town of Brooks " 
was lost by a yea and nay vote of 89 yea to 93 nay, 
with 10 votes paired on each. 

The final effort of the petitioners in 1889 proved more 
ineffectual, the vote being 48 in favor, 109 against. This 
was the death knell of town government in Medford. 

In those years the population of the whole town had 
increased almost to the minimum number requisite for 
a city charter, the census of 1890 enumerating 11,770. 
The "March meeting" of 189 1 appointed a committee to 
consider the advisability of petitioning for such, which 
committee in November reported that its census taken 
showed the population to be 12,100, and recommended 
that a city charter be obtained. 

Such petition to the General Court being granted at 
its session of 1892, its action was accepted at a special 
town meeting. It is somewhat significant of the good 
sense of those earlier petitioners, who foresaw danger 
in "delegating their rights and privileges to the few, 
that the charter was accepted October 6, 1892, by a 


vote of 382 as against 342. The first election for city 
officers occurred December 13, 1892, and the first inaugu- 
ration January 2, 1S93. 

The last " Town Book " was issued under the new city 
government and contains the inaugural address of Mayor 
Lawrence, 12 pages; the city charter, 24; and city or- 
ganization, 6 pages. The tax list of 1892 covers 87 pages, 
and the various reports and financial statements bring 
the book to a total of 392. One thousand, six hundred 
and seventy-seven residents and 631 non-residents were 
assessed tax on property, while 2,350 were assessed poll 
tax only. The rate was $14.80, an excess of but 20 cents 
over the previous year. Two thousand, five hundred 
and eighty-three children were enrolled in the public 
schools. The net debt, including the water loan, 3 I 1 /o 
per cent of the total valuation ; exclusive of water loan, 

*tVo P er cent - 

It may be noticed that Medford's last year as a town 

was a short one — eleven months — and this book, unlike 

those before, could not get into the citizens' hands until 

after the new order began. But Medford had, by the 

narrow margin of forty votes, delegated its affairs to the 

manage7nent of the few. 

It is not the purpose of the present writing to criticise 
the various administrations of public affairs and expense 
during the thirty years that have elapsed, but to call 
attention to these publications as of local history. We 
will, however, say that the 1920 volume was not ready 
for distribution until November, 192 1. 

Annually the reports for the year preceding have been 
issued, and citizens who were enough interested in the 
matter to apply to the auditor were furnished with a 

This latest report shows a tax rate of $29.80 per 
thousand, and 11,584 assessed polls. Of these 1,471 
are exempt r (but 51 being veterans of Civil War.) Five 
thousand, one hundred and eighty-five individual resi- 
dents and 1,391 individual non-residents were assessed 

.. ; 


on property. Eight thousand, one hundred and fifty- 
eight persons (and firms) assessed on property and 8,560 
persons for poll tax only, the latter being $5.00. Popu- 
lation as found by assessors, April 1, 1920, 40,070. (At 
the present writing it is said to be 42,000.) We are told 
that the present enrollment of children in the schools is 
now 7,000 as against 6,378 in the report of 1920. 

Some of these annuals have been embellished with 
portraits of the inaugural incumbent, and some depart- 
ment reports illustrated by maps and views of some engi- 
neering construction. A few views show features now 
obliterated and the improvement there made. Twenty- 
five reports, from as many departments, were addressed 
to the mayor and form the bulk of the latest published 
report, that of 1920. Three hundred copies of this book 
of 383 pages were printed. 

Another publication, not included in those already 
mentioned, has been furnished to citizens on applica- 
tion — the Poll, or Ward Book, as some style it. It 
bears the title, " List of Persons in Medford Assessed a 
Poll Tax April 1 " of the stated year. The names in 
each ward are given in alphabetical order of street, read- 
ing across the page, thus : "House Number, Name, Age, 
Occupation, Residence in Previous Year." The last 
issued under the above caption was that of 1920, 292 
pages, and contained 10,667 names. The Nineteenth 
Amendment to the Constitution caused a change in the 
form of the assessors' publication, which appeared in a 
separate book for each ward, with covers of differing 
color, entitled, " Persons Listed as Residents of Medford, 
April 1, 192 1." It is said to contain nearly twenty-seven 
thousand names upon 728 pages. Three wards are each 
divided into two voting precincts, each is separately 
listed. As this listing begins at the age of twenty and 
is supposed to be correct at April 1, 192 1, it will be seen 
that there is in the hands of our people (such as have it) 
a valuable directory of the city. It might be improved 
by a plain general map, showing ward and precinct lines, 


and some method of showing the direction in which 
street numbers run. 

Never before has there been so accurate an enumera- 
tion of Medford's people made available. For instance, 

a family residing at number — , street, consists of 

the father, whose occupation is . The mother is 

listed as housewife, but a distinction is found in some 
cases where some woman is the housekeeper. The 
young people of each household are there listed accord- 
ing to occupation, and older women " at home." To the 
names of some elderly men residing with a son the former 
occupation is given, and in some cases as " retired." In 
a few cases no occupation is given, though such are rare ; 
the writer, after a residence in Medford of over fifty-two 
years, finds himself thus distinguished. No material 
criticism was made in the matter of the age item until 
the recent listing. Probably that is in the main correct, 
but there are exceptions. 

Assuming 42,000 to be Medford's present population, 
with 27,000 above twenty years listed thus, and 7,000 
enrolled in the schools, leaves 8,000 made up of children 
under five years, and young people under twenty not in 
public school. As yet we are not informed what pro- 
portion this latter class bears to the former. It is one, 
however, that will next year, in part, pass over into the 
listed residents to increase the 27,000 and be a part of 
the voting factor for good or for ill. The question 
naturally arises, " Which will it be ? " What do those 
of the annually recurring recruits to the voting list know 
of the city's affairs and needs, or of the qualifications for 
service of those for whom they vote ? 

Delegated to the few, are the city's business affairs 
placed in competent hands by the popular vote ? Again 
it may well be asked, " How many of the electorate of 
Medford are enough concerned for its welfare to acquaint 
themselves with its affairs and their administration, but 
leave it to the other fellow? How many ever see the 
city's annual printed reports, or read its pages and form 


any intelligent idea of the how and why of the rate and 
amount of the tax bill they grumble about, and finally 
with sacrificing effort pay ? " 

We have alluded to the report for 1870 and its distri- 
bution to every dwelling in town. There were probably 
1,000 copies printed, and the month that intervened be- 
tween the close of the fiscal year and the warning of 
town meeting sufficed for the making up of reports, 
printing and delivery. The " oppressed laborers " of 
that time worked ten hours daily, six days in a week, 
and the business men, their employers, probably more 
hours, but both classes found time to inform themselves, 
for the government was then u in the hands of the many," 
and the voters were the appropriating power. 

How is it today? At present writing some depart- 
ments' reports have not reached the chief executive, and 
none as yet are ready for public distribution. For 1920 
300 copies only were printed, at a cost to our tax payers 
of $1,688, or $5.63 per copy, and now, after more than 
eight months, only a little over half have been taken by 
the citizens. And who are these citizens? We answer, 
" Those who are interested enough to go to the auditor's 
office and ask for the book." We are told that copies 
taken were by the older citizens, long resident in Med-- 
ford and farthest removed from Medford square. And 
what are our citizens but members of a business corpora- 
tion whose reported annual expenditure is upward of 
three million dollars and whose future is mortgaged 
heavily ? 


A prophet is not without honor save in his own country and in 
his own house. — Matthew ij : 57. 

We are reminded of this trite saying by the receipt of 
the following letter, which explains itself. The token 
itself is unique and its presentation after the lapse of 
sixty years equally so. 

1922.] A REMEMBRANCE. 35 




July 20, 1922. 
Medford Historical Society 
Governors Avenue 
Medford, Mass. 

Gentlemen : — 

In accordance with the conversation which I had with your 
representative, Mr. Moses W. Mann, a few days ago, I enclose 
herewith a little gift to the city of Medford from the Misses Tomp- 
kins, of 84 Hixon Place, South Orange, New Jersey. 

To me it seems fitting that the token should be filed with your 
society in memory of George Luther Stearns, and the same is 
handed to you herewith, for such disposition and exposition as your 
society may deem advisable. 

Yours very truly, 

[Signed] Charles A. Winslow 

City Clerk. 

The little " token " named is an exquisite little paint- 
ing only i-J-x ij\ inches in size, fastened to the top of 
a 2\ x 3I inch page of fine linen paper by four stitches in 
its corners, the ends of the thread tasselled. Beneath 
it is the following legend, written in a very fine but dis- 
tinct hand: — 

The Autumn Oak Trees, 

designed and painted 


Abigail Brown Tompkins 

1921. - - 

To the Town of Medford, Mass., in memory of George Luther 
Stearns, your renowned townsman who was born at Medford, 
January 8, 1809. Presented with the good wishes of Miss Abigail 
Brown Tompkins and Miss Emma Louise Tompkins, descendants 
of founders of the City of Newark, New Jersey, in 1666. 

South Orange, New Jersey, December 19, 1921. 


Our versatile and estimable city clerk being in some 
doubt as to its best disposition, consulted with the cura- 
tor of the Historical Society, and after acknowledging 
its receipt with thanks, sent the same, with his letter of 
explanation above quoted, to the Society. In the mean- 
time our former secretary, Miss Eliza Gill, wrote to the 
ladies relative thereto, who reply in part: — 

We cannot give you any further information concerning your 
patriotic townsman. We only know what we have read. We feel 
with you that some public memorial to his memory should be com- 
memorated by the people of Medford. Such patriotism as he dis- 
played during the Civil War certainly should be known to the 
present generation and that of the future. We would be pleased 
to receive any facts about old Medford. 

So here is a recognition of the estimable worth of a 
Medford man by entire strangers in another state, their 
only knowledge of him acquired perhaps by only casual 
reading. Yet right here in Medford are people today 
who ask, " Who was George Luther Stearns ?" for few 
of our younger people know of our local history and 
perhaps care less. 

As shown above, his boyhood was spent in the old 
town of over a century ago. It was sadly affected by 
the death of his father, when the boy was but eleven 
years of age, and after but three years more in school he 
began work in a Boston store. Arriving at manhood he 
entered into business. "Wealth honorably earned flowed 
into his hands," and he used it for the helping of his fel- 
low men, notably the oppressed and the slave. His 
beautiful home, later known as " The Evergreens," was 
a way-station of the "underground railroad," and the 
resort of philanthropists and friends' of freedom, one of 
whom was John Brown. 

At first sight, the dainty little picture might be taken 
for a view of this Stearns home. It shows a stream in 
the foreground where would be College avenue, a large 
house (with similar roof) surrounded by trees in autumnal 
foliage, while in the distance are two lofty hills as is our 


College hill. It is finely executed by a lady probably of 
advanced years and patriotic thought, who cherishes the 
memory of her ancestors. 

One of our townswomen (who also writes in this issue 
of the Stearns mansion) also wrote u Lest we forget what 
the country and our state owes to this man, of whom we 
ought to be proud as being a citizen of Medford," also 
quoted the words of Whittier, written of him : — 

He forgot his own soul for others, 
Himself to his neighbors lending, 
He found the Lord in his suffering brothers, 
And not in the clouds descending. 

To such as really wish an answer to their query, "Who 
was Stearns ? " we suggest the reading of his biography, 
which may be found in the Usher " History of Medford." 

The little " token " sent by the New Jersey lady will, 
with her letters and the missive of our city clerk, be duly 
displayed in the Historical Rooms. It shows an appre- 
ciation of patriotic service and philanthropic spirit, and 
that "a prophet is not without honor." And so, in ac- 
knowledgment, we say of this stranger that sent it, that 
" this which this woman hath done, be told for a memorial 
of her." 


Our illustration shows the home of Rev. Charles 
Brooks, where the " History of Medford " was written 
and much of his literary work was done. It was not his 
birthplace. He was born in the older house just below 
it facing eastward on old Woburn street, the story of 
which has been told in Vol. XVI, p. 69, of the Register, 
by the present occupant, Mrs. Ellen Newton Brooks. It 
is said to have been the home of his uncle Isaac Brooks 
(who died in 18 19), and sold by his widow. The his- 
torian's father, Jonathan, purchased it, and made it his 
home until his death in 1847, when his son Charles, and 
daughter Lucy Ann Brooks, succeeded in its occupancy. 





Rev. Charles passed away in 1872 and Miss Lucy Ann 
many years later. 

It is a fine example of the type of New England dwell- 
ings of the better class of the early nineteenth century, 
and succeeded that of Deacon Bradshaw, which was 
probably like Medford's oldest, the Bradbury-Blanchard- 
Wellington house at Wellington. The central or main 
portion has end walls of brick, not carried above the 
roof, but covered by it but with no projecting cornice. 
The front is somewhat elaborate in detail, though the 
projecting roof over the miin entrance may be of later 
construction. The eastern wing is very long, perhaps 
once enlarged, and overlaps the rear corner but little. A 
small porch shelters its entrance door, the round pillars 
of which supported the gallery of the third meeting- 
house, which was built in 1770. As that was taken down 
in 1839, the porch or possible addition would be of later 
date. There is also a western wing (also well back) of 
later erection. Both these adjoin an extension in the 
rear of the central or main building, only the shape of 
the roof being visible from the street, making a structure 
over a hundred feet in length, as well as over a hundred 
years old. 

At its erection it commanded a view of wide expanse, 
and its land extended westward some three hundred feet, 
while an equal amount (or more) of land lay opposite on 
High street. Through these areas, in very recent years, 
have been built Wolcott and other streets and numerous 

To this house came, in 1S93, the widow of Isaac 
Austin Brooks (cousin of the historian), Mrs. Sarah War- 
ner Brooks, who spent there the remainder of her life. 
An account of her may be found in " Medford Past and 
Present," page 45. She was author of "A Garden with 
a House Attached," which may be found in the Public 
Library. Its first chapter has a graphic description of 
the various walks and paths of the extensive grounds, 
and mentions the trees of various kinds, many of which 


were early planted by the historian and cheered his de- 
clining days. In several illustrations she is seen among 
her favorite flowers. She gave to the place the name 
"The Lilacs," and appropriately, because of their pro- 
fusion. Beautifully tender allusions to the " lady of the 
wheel-chair" run through the volume, referring to Miss 
Lucy Ann, who in her last years thus visited her familiar 
home scenes. 

Some years ago the enclosing fence was removed. 
The gate, however, was swung back, and the lilacs have 
sprung up before it, as if to forbid its closing. 

Mrs. Brooks' son Edward recently passed on, and the 
big " mansion " may not remain many years. We have 
thought it well to thus show and mention it ere it shall 
be no more. 


A former resident of Medford, Caleb Swan, while on 
a visit to his " brother doctor," went to Oak Grove 
Cemetery. On his return to his home in New York, he 
attached the following to page 429 of his copy of " Brooks' 
History of Medford " and marked the margin against 
the matter of tree removal: — 

One of the first things done by the committee was to cut down 
the grand, noble, old oak tree on an eminence near the grave of 
Mr. Jonathan Brooks. When I first saw it, June 6, 1S66, I stood 
nearly ten minutes looking at it with admiration : it had noble 
large branches and was probably two or three centuries old. I 
enquired the names of the Cemetery Committee and was informed 
they were Mr. Goldthwaite, Chairman, J. W. Mitchell, Mr. Vinal. 
They might be called a Goth & Vandal Committee. 

C. S.,-1871. 

Mr. Swan never lost interest in his boyhood's home, 
and, on publication, purchased five copies of the history, 
four of which he gave to friends and relatives less favored 
than himself, while an older brother did likewise with 
ten. The copy he reserved for his own use was seven- 

40 A HOME-COMER' S OPINION, 1871. Qune, 1922-,] 

teen years ago given to the Historical Society by his 
grandson, Charles Herbert Swan, recently deceased. 

In passing along Salem street we cannot but wonder 
what Caleb Swan would say were he to visit where 

44 Each in his narrow cell forever laid 
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

and with them his parents and kindred. The removal 
of one " grand, noble old oak tree " which he first saw on 
a visit but few years before in the then new place of 
sepulture, he would have considered a smaller matter 
as compared with the removal of nearly every tree (one 
four feet in diameter) and the temporary removal of 
many ancient gravestones in our oldest burial ground. 
It is now a little over a century since Medford's second 
burial place was opened and this early one less used. 
The large poplar tree probably grew during less than 
that time, but doubtless exceeded in size the slower 
grown oak that Mr. Swan felt it was vandalism to remove. 
To some residents of today the sight of our ancient 
burial ground during the recent "improvement " came 
with a shock. Remembering the ice storm of last De- 
cember and its resultant damage, such can only console 
themselves with the thought that perhaps the present 
committee have acted wisely, and refrain from the epithet 
used by Mr. Swan, and quote again from the immortal 
elegy — 

44 Yet even these bones from insult to protect, 
Some frail memorial, still erected nigh, 
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, 
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh." 

Remembering that in some time long past the high- 
ways have been crowded upon this ground so that the 
daily pedestrian travel of Salem street is over sixteen 
tombs and that of River street over twelve more, it is to 
be hoped that no further "improvement" of the kind is 
to be permitted. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXV. SEPTEMBER, 1922. No. 3. 


We are presenting in this issue an extract from the 
diary of Medford *s first historian, which deals with 
the naming of Medford in more detail than is given in 
the printed records of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society, where he made the statement. The Register 
has before alluded to this subject in Vol. XXII, p. 21. 

With the hope that something more might be learned, 
the editor addressed (December 25, 1920) a letter to the 
" Mayor of Meaford, Staffordshire, England," and some- 
what later another to " Staffordshire County Council." 
Reply to the latter appeared in Vol. XXIV, p. 71. Ac- 
companying the letter of the Council's clerk were the 
three excellent views shown in our present illustration. 
Soon after its publication we received a reply to our 
earlier letter, which we present for careful reading : — 

20 Kings Avenue, Stone, 

Feb. 26, 1922. 
Dear Mr. Mann, 

On Christmas Day, 1920, you wrote to the chairman of the 
Urban District Council of Stone (there is no mayor as the town 
has never received a charter) asking for information about the 
hamlet of Meaford near Stone which you thought was the origin 
of your town name of Medford. 

Mr. Davis, the chairman, handed on your letter to me. 

I have made extensive inquiries about the Matthew Craddock 
who (your brochure says) founded the Colony of Medford in 162S. 
There were two Matthew Craddocks living at the same time, Mem- 
bers of Parliament. They were first cousins; one was Member of 
Parliament for Stafford, the other for London. It was the London 


M. P. who undoubtedly founded the colony in Massachusetts. 
There is so far no difficulty. But the real difficulty is that no pos- 
sible connection can be traced between the Craddocks and the seat of 
Meaford at the time the colony was founded, nor indeed until a 
hundred years later. I have not seen the birth of this Matthew 
Craddock (he died in 1641, just before the beginning of the Civil 
War) but if he called his colony on the Mistick River "Metford " I 
do not think he could have called it after his country seat in Staf- 
fordshire for the simple reason that the Craddocks there cannot be 
proved to have been associated with Meaford at all. Perhaps they 
were, but most Staffordshire historians think not. Perhaps Matthew 
Craddock was a friend of the man who lived at Meaford — he 
himself lived at Caverswall about ten miles off and he named his 
colony after his friend's estate. 

But the name Meaford is such a common one that it is difficult 
to say which Medford, England, M. C. named his colony after. 

In the English Colonial Papers, there are copies of letters about 
the founding of his colony, but no name is given to the colony. 
He was a bigoted Roundhead and a stiff-necked antagonist of 
Charles I ; he had the true spirit of many of the " Pilgrim Fathers," 
I should think. 

I admire him for opposing Charles I. I enclose you letters 
from the .proprietors at Meaford now, the lineal descendants of 
Matthew Craddock. 

The connection with Meaford before 1735 can not be proved. 
Perhaps you could give me some more information on that subject. 
With very kind regards, 

Ever yours, 

Mark Hughes, B. A. 

(Author of the 4 ' Story of Staffordshire" ** Tales and Legends 
of the Midland Counties," etc.) 

It thus appears that our inquiries have created inter- 
est among " Staffordshire historians," and their search 
reveals the fact of there being two (contemporary) 
Matthew Cradocks, both Members of Parliament. Our 
thanks are certainly due to them and to the present pro- 
prietor of Meaford (whose letters to Historian Hughes 
follow), who carefully copied the inscription in Cavers- 
wall church. 

Feb. 10th. 
Dear Mr. Hughes — 

Since I saw you the other night I have been hunting up the 
Cradocks. I find as I thought that they are related to us through 


the Parkers . . not the Jcrvis 1 . I find that on Nov. 2Sth, 1735, 
John Hawe of Walsall married Mary Cradock. They had a 
daughter Mary who married in 1764, Thomas Hawe Parker of 
Park Hall. This Thomas Parker left his Park Kail estate to his 
nephezv^ my grandfather the Hon ble E. S. Parker Jervis, and it 
now belongs to my brother. We also still own the old propeity 
of the Hawes Solihull near Warwick. I have found a curious old 
sampler worked by this Mary Cradock in 1722, and we have a beau- 
tiful portrait of their daughter Mary, painted by one Saunders. 
I also find in Erdeswick that Matthew Cradock purchased Cars- 
wall or Caverswall Castle from Lord Huntingdon some time previ- 
ous to 1655, so I think it probable that the Cradocks at Caverswall 
and the Parkers at Park Hall were near neighbors and friends. 

I cannot find any connection with Meaford nearer than this. 
Will you please tell me what you found at the Will m Salt library 
and if your information at all tallies with mine, and in the mean- 
time I will look round for more " relics." It is all so very in- 
teresting. Yours sincerely, 

E. M. Parker Jervis. 

Dear Mr. Hughes — 

T send you today a Copy of an inscription on a Cradock tomb 
at Caverswall. Also a Copy of the Sampler worked by Mary 
Cradock, Also the Pedigree as I make it out to be. All these 
things will I think interest your correspondent in America. But 
all these things do not explain to me why they called their town 
Metford in or about 1630, when their connection with this place and 
family did not date till 1735, a hundred years later. I cannot yet 
trace any connection at so early a date. 

Yours sincerely, 

E. M. Parker Jervis. 

P.S. I notice that this George Cradock married a Sau?iders, 
and our picture here a hundred years later is also painted by a 
Saunders, which is curious. 

Feb. 19th. 
Dear Mr. Hughes. 

I believe I may have solved the difficulty about "Medford." I 
had an idea that we must look for the former owners of this prop- 
erty and I knew that " the Jervis' bought it from an old family of 
the name of Short about the beginning of Charles II reign." Yester- 
day I went to the William Salt Library to hunt up the Shorts, and 
after a terrible long hunt we found that a family of the name of 
Short lived at Ashley, also a Cradock lived there in the Common- 


44 Thomas Short of Ashley had a son Edward^ ivho married 

Miss Cradock, dan. of Cradock of Htmgersheatfi. 

[Hungersheath is a bit of waste land adjacent to Ashley. I think the 
name has died out of present day maps.] They had a son Edward 
Short of May ford in 1663." 

This I think proves the connection between the Shorts of 
Meaford and the Cradocks. We must have bought Mayford from 
this Edward Short soon after 1663. There are Short monuments 
at Lichfield. 

Yours Sincerely, 

E. M. Parker Jervis. 

Evidently there is yet much to learn about the 
" father of our Medford," but it would appear from the 
third (Jervis) letter that the " difficulties " referred to by 
Historian Hughes are, in a measure, cleared up. 

What may yet be learned we leave to future issues of 
the Register, and present the following: — 

Copy of Inscription at Caverswall Church 

44 George Cradock Esqre 

(for his great Providence in the Common laws well worthy 
named Beau Clarke of ye Assizes for this Circuit) did take to wife 
ye most amiable & most loving Dorothy ye daughter of John 
Saunders Doctor of Physicke by whom he had a Pair Royal of 
incomparable Daughters — to wit 

Dorothy, Elizabeth and Mary 

It is easier to guesse that he lived in a splendid Degree if I shall 
but recount to you that 

Sir Thos. Slingsly Bt. ) ( Dorothy 

The Rt. Hon. Robt Lord Cholmondely V married j Elizabeth 
Sir John Bridgeman ) ( Mary 

But! but! to our grief George Cradock is assaulted by death in 
ye meridian of his age not far off from his Castle of Caverswall 
(lately built even to beauty) by Matthew Cradock Esqre who was 
interred in this place. And dying of small pox ye 16th of April 
1643 betooke himself to the private mansion of this Tombe erected 
for him at the cost of Dorothy his obsequious wife, where he now 
rests under the Protection of an Essoine until he be summoned 
to appear at the last great and general Assizes. 

Copy of Old Sampler Worked by Mary Cradock 

(now framed at Meaford) 

[Alphabet is here worked twice in capitals and small letters] 

1922.] WHY MEDFORD? 45 

"O all ye nations of the world praise ye the Lord ahvayes — and 
all ye people everywhere set forth his noble praise : For great his 
kindness is to us. His truth does not decay. Wherefore praise 
ye the Lord our God. Praise ye the Lord alway." 

Mary Cradock her work made in the year of our Lord 1722. 


Resulting from a search for other matters, Mr. John 
Albree writes us: — 

44 Incidentally I came across a reference to the meeting 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society, of which I 
copied the record and enclose it herein. His theory 
seems plausible at least, and is new to me. It may be 
that it has sufficient novelty for the Register." 

[From proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, 
Meeting of July, 1858.] 

"Mr. Brooks offered some remarks on the origin of the name 
of the town of Medford, tracing it through the Cradock family — 
the original owners of the plantation on the Mystic river — to 
the manor of Metford in Staffordshire in England, also owned by 
the same family. 

"The change from Metford to Medford, Mr. Brooks said, could 
not be explained. The name was written in different ways in the 
town records, but, since 1715, was invariably spelt as at present 

Extract from Diary of Rev. Charles Brooks, Medford 

July 15th, 1858. Today I met with the Mass. Hist. Soc'y and 
gave an account of the origin of the name of Medford. Perhaps 
it will not be misplaced, if recorded here. For substance I stated 
as follows : — 

After three years search in England I have received some facts 
from Mr. Somerby, which together with some in my possession, 
seem to settle the question. 

Mathew Cradock, first Governor of the 4t Massachusetts Bay in 
New England," owned several separate parcels of land in Stafford- 
shire, England. On one of these he used to reside for a few weeks 
in summer. He called it his U Manor of Metford." This name 
seems to have given place to that of " Mayford," now used to 
designate that locality. 

46 WHY MEDFORD ? [September, 

Of the four ships, which came with Governor Winthrop in 
1630, two, the Ambrose and Jewel, were owned by Governor 
Cradock. His farmers, shipwrights and fishermen came in them, 
and some of these men doubtless from his " Manor of Metford". 
When a name was needed for their new home on the banks of the 
Mystic, how natural it was to propose that of '• Metford" ; thus 
giving them something of home familiarity in the wilderness, 
besides being a graceful tribute to the Governor, their employer 
and friend. 

That the name thus proposed was adopted, is proved from the 
fact that the large grant of land, made to Governor Cradock by the 
General Court, March 4, 1634, was called by the Cradock family 
41 Our Manor of Metford in New England", thus being in contra- 
distinction to the '* Manor of Metford " in Staffordshire. 

That the laborers, sent by Governor Cradock, should not have 
known exactly how to spell the name they had brought with them 
and had given to their American home is not strange; and as there 
were very few occasions for writing it the true orthography was 
left, as in several other cases, to chance. That chance, or some- 
thing worse, had much to do in this matter, is proved by the fact 
that uniformity in spelling the name did not obtain till i7 I 5? 
eighty-five years after the first settlement ! 

In the early records it was variously spelled and probably 
according to the different methods of pronouncing the name. The 
early leasing and sale of these lands confirm the above suppositions. 

March 1, 1644 (the year in which Governor Cradock died) his 
widow rents half of her "Manor in Metford in New England" to 
Edward Collins; thus indicating a distinction between the two 
" Manors ". 

June 2, 1652, after the death of the widow, the heirs of Gov- 
ernor Cradock give a quitclaim deed of said land to Ed. Collins; 
and in that instrument it is called " Meadford in New England"; 
thus indicating a variation of the name from " Metford " in Stafford- 
shire. The Cradock family adopt the American orthography, 
because their " deed" was to take effect and be recorded here. 

Both of these facts thus mutually confirm the supposition that 
it was first called "Metford" by Governor Cradock's men, after 
" Metford" in Staffordshire, but suffered orthographical manglings 
in its Americanization. 

* Why it came to assume its present form I cannot discover. It 
is spelled in three different wavs in the town records up to 1715, 
after which date it is uniformly written " Medford". 

19:2.] • 47 

The illustration in our last issue (The Historian's 
Home) has been subject of some favorable comment, 
and was especially Welcome to a non-resident member, 
who in her childhood days lived near by and remembers 
it and its occupants well. But there arises a question of 
accuracy of statement that there the history of Medford 
(published in 1855) was written, as witness the reply of 
Mr. John Albree to our later inquiry. 

You asked me when Mr. Brooks moved to Medford for good. 
As I was looking this up with other things, I found the exact date, 
March 3, 1856. He, with his wife, had been living for some time 
at the Larkin's, 21 Somerset street, Boston, and had become tired 
of that kind of existence. His sister Elizabeth had died the pre- 
ceding November, and Miss Lucy Ann was at the old house almost 
alone. Mr. Brooks' daughter apparently spent much time there, 
however. So the arrangement was made that Mr. and Mrs. Brooks 
move into the old home, " to go no more out." Mr. Alfred 
Brooks, his brother, made this his headquarters, though he was 
somewhat of a traveller. 

Mr. Usher in his brief memoir is silent regarding 
Mr. Brooks' return to his native home on retiring 
from active life. For six years prior to 1853 ^ r - 
Brooks' name appears in the Boston Directory as of 12 
Bedford street, in '53 at 1 1 1 Washington street; in '54 
and '55 at 21 Bromfield street, (in the three latter years) 
"house at Medford." After '55 his name does not 
appear therein, and it seems probable that the addresses 
°f '53-' 54-55 were those of his office there. But whether 
resident or not, he was certainly present (by his own tes- 
timony) at the old home on that fateful day of the 
tornado of August, 1851. He was requested by the 
citizens to gather facts relating thereto, which he did, 
and published a little later. He was in his sixty-first 
year when he came back to the old home "to go no 
more out." His had been an eventful and busy life. 
He had just completed his. history of his native town, a 
work of considerable magnitude. Prior to 1840, local 
or town histories in New England were but few (only 



48 AS OTHERS TOLD IT. [September 

about thirty- five) and these were rarely more than sixty 
pages. Mr. Brooks' work was of nearly six hundred 
pages, and doubtless was an incentive to others in the 
years soon following. He labored under the disadvan- 
tage of an utter absence of any local public records what- 
ever prior to 1674, and supposed such to have been made 
but lost. We of today are strongly inclined to the 
belief that nothing can be lost which was not possessed. 
He was an enthusiast in what pertained to his native 
town, and though such quality sometimes led him in his 
historical work to claim more for Medford than could be 
proved, it is still a good quality to have. Medford of 
today would be better if there was more of the same 
optimistic spirit in evidence. 


Over forty years ago a commendable effort was made 
for the preservation of one of Medford 's old houses. 
People were then under the impression that it dated 
back to Medford's first settlement and erected at the 
instance of Matthew Cradock, " Father of our Medford." 
A very readable article appeared at that time in the 
Medford Mercury, the beginning of which we quote: — . 

Apropos of the discussion in regard to the saving of the ancient 
Cradock Mansion, something about the history of its builder and 
master is highly appropriate. Matthew Cradock was the father of 
Medford, and it is time that his many children were posted as to 
his origin and life. But it is a great undertaking to unearth the 
facts. It takes patient delving among old records, faithful reading 
of musty manuscripts, tedious correspondence with grouty old 
Englishmen, and, after that, a good deal of ready imagination to 
fill up the cracks and crevices, to weave even so incomplete a record 
as we are able to present here. Presuming, however, that our read- 
ers will accept a lunch in view of our inability to give them a 
dinner, we publish the facts alreadv in our hands. The genealogy 
of Matthew Cradock has been traced back to 1446, and furthest 
back is spelled Caradoc. 

In 1446 John Cradock married Jane Dorrington. They had a 

1922.] AS OTHERS TOLD IT. 49 

son John, who had a son Richard, who in turn had a son Thomas, 
who had a son Thomas, who had a son William, and William 
Cradock was the father of Matthew Cradock, "Medford's founder 
and first friend," as the author of Brooks' History reverently 

expresses it. 


Here we depend upon another source for our information, find- 
ing that our Cradock inherited property and built a new house at 
Caverswall, Staffordshire. One or two miles from Stone, Stafford- 
shire, and seven from Caverswall is a hamlet spelled Mayford, 
Mearford and 


Being so near to Metford it is possible that he had an estate 
there, and that there the name of this town originated. The deeds 
of Cradock's wife and daughter relate to lands in Medford, Massa- 
chusetts, and the property is described as t4 in our manor in Met- 
ford in New England." Sir William de Caverswall built a castle 
at Caverswall in 1275. It fell into a ruinous condition, and accord- 
ing to some authorities, was rebuilt in 1643 by Matthew Cradock — 
others say by William Cradock. It is of unpretending character, 
with a massive tower, in imitation of a medieval castle, with a 
moat wall, buttresses and turrets. This is on the tomb of William 
de Caverswall : 

Will of Carswall, here lye I, 
That built this castle and pooles hereby. 
Underneath it has been written: 

William of Carswell, here thou mayst lye, 
But thy castle is down and thy pooles are drye. 

Who the author of the Mercury article of August, 6, '8 1, 
was, it is now impossible to ascertain, nor yet the "another 
source" from which he drew his information. Perhaps 
it may have been the " ready imagination " there con- 
fessed. But it is evident that various writers have all 
along confused the Matthew Cradock, the original pro- 
prietor of Medford, Massachusetts, M. P. from London, 
with his cousin Matthew Cradock (a contemporary M. P. 
for Stafford, the "stiff-necked antagonist of Charles I,") 
of Caverswall. It will be noted (on p. 43) that our cor- 
respondent says " the name Meaford is such a common 
one," which indicates that though some other Meaford 
or Metford may have been in the governor's mind, yet 
he may have " named his colony after his friend's estate." 


We had arranged for the presentation of the three 
views of Meaford in this issue of the Register (see also 
Vol. XXIV, No. 4) as illustrative of Medford, England, 
from which Medford, Massachusetts, got its name. If 
later search proves otherwise, we will be consoled in 
having made the effort, and are pleased to present these 
pleasing views of scenes in Old England. 

We are also pleased to present the interesting letters 
of Historian Hughes and of the present lineal descendant 
of another Matthew Cradock, owner of Meaford Hall. 
It is apparent that they are not " grouty old Englishmen," 
but find " It is all so very interesting." 


The Brooks History of Medford gave a (presumably) 
complete list of five hundred and thirteen Medford- 
built vessels, including the year 1854. Mr. Usher in 
his later work (1886) gave the names of twenty-four 
builders of five hundred and sixty-four vessels of all 
styles, but gave no names of owners, style or tonnage. 

Prior, however, to his publication there appeared in 
the Mercury of April 1, 1882, the following, which is 
also presumably correct, though it lacks the owners' 

uilt by J 

ames 0. 

Curtis: — 



Young Greek 

500 tons 








Silver Star 





Flying Mist 





Bold Hunter 





Young Turk 





Bunker Hill 










Wild Gazelle 

















♦ » 



Mary Edson 










900 tons 



Rebecca Goddard 










Young Rover 











io 35 









D. C. Molay 










Fall River 

93 2 




Horatio Harris 



1 866 


Nelly Hastings 





John Worster 













Built by Joshua T. Foster : — 




600 tons 








Addie Snow 







» j 












































9 3 5 









Eastern Belle 





Mistic Belle 





Don Quixote 

1 174 




J. T. Foster 








Built by Hayden & Cudworth : — 








Electric Spark 








Thatcher Magoun 








Captain Paine 





Henry Hastings 


Enumerated in the earlier list of five hundred and 
thirteen was one not named and " not sold." Adding 
the fifty-five above listed gives a total of five hundred 
and sixty-eight, or four more than the total given by 
Usher (page 427). The queries arise, what was the 
name given the one " not sold," built by Captain Foster? 
Assuming the Usher totals correct, what the names of 
those four, and who the owners ? 

From the names given we might infer that some were 
built for the East India trade. 

The "half models" of six are preserved in the Histori- 
cal building. One of these is that of the Avon, built in 
the short time of twenty-six days — a privateer in 1815. 
Another reminder of the vanished industry is the rigged 
model of the " Syren" (see Register, Vol. XXII, p. 76) 
and a photograph of the same lying at wharf. Besides 
these we have the framed photo of the " Ellen Brooks," 
and a faded photo of the steamship " Cambridge," of the 
above list. The last ship built in Medford was by 
Captain Foster in 1873, an d Mr. Woolley's excellent 
water-color is also framed and hangs in the society's 
assembly hall, and the artist's story of the launching and 
brief history of the " Pilgrim " in Vol. XVI, p. 71, of the 
Register. Also in Vol. XXI, No. 1, may be found the 
view of the wreck, and story of the "Living Age." 
Further than these there is little to tell us of Medford's 
once famous industry. 

On page 60, Vol. XXIV, the Register had a "Ter- 
centenary Note " alluding to the first recorded visit of 
white men to what became Medford. 

They were Captain Myles Standish and eight of the 
Plymouth pilgrims. The present writing is of one 
of the places they visited, upon which in more recent 
years a monument was erected, which has been dese- 
crated and seems in danger of ultimate destruction. 



£ . ■ i 



In 1659, one Thomas Brooks of Concord, with his 
son-in-law, Timothy Wheeler, purchased of Edward 
Collins four hundred acres of land, being the western 
end of the Cradock farm, bordered by Mystic river and 
ponds. Thomas Brooks never came to live on his pur- 
chase but his sons did, and theirs also in later years, and 
some do still. 

A road from Cambridge to Woburn lay through this 
tract, and another to the " weare " or fishing place be- 
came in time the continuation of High street. On this 
four hundred acres there was at least one dwelling, to 
which one of the sons came in 1679, which housed sev- 
eral generations for just a century, when his grandson 
had it torn down. Twenty years more, and the old 
waterway, the Middlesex canal, was cut through its site 
across the highway and through the farm then in posses- 
sion of Peter Chardon Brooks. He began in 1802 to 
erect back from the old way, fittingly called Grove street, 
a mansion house befitting his means — he was the mer- 
chant prince of New England. It took four years for 
its completion, and meanwhile the canal was finished and 
in operation, thus dividing his farm into two parts, the 
farm buildings on one and the new and stately dwell- 
ing on the other. 

The canal proprietors were obliged to build and main- 
tain an " accommodation " bridge in such cases, which 
they did. After some twenty years, Mr. Brooks replaced 
their plain wooden bridge with one of dressed stone, a 
beautiful elliptic arch of Chelmsford granite, which was 
in keeping with his well-kept grounds that were a place 
of beauty. Through these passed the leisurely travel 
and traffic of a century ago, when people had not the 
feverish haste of the locomotive engine. 

In 1852 the canal ceased operation. Its location was 
either purchased by or reverted to the former owners, 
and in some places it was obliterated. But Mr. Edward 
Brooks was in no hurry to remove the graceful arch. 
Perhaps he respected the wish of his kinsman, the his- 


torian, who in 1855 wrote: "we truly hope that this pic- 
turesque object may be allowed to remain in memoriam, 
— a gravestone to mark where the highway of the waters 
lies buried." He was succeeded by his son Francis as 
owner in 1S7S. 

The Medford historian (Rev. Charles Brooks) also 
wrote that " no Indian necropolis has as yet been dis- 
covered, though one probably exists on the borders of 
our pond." He doubtless made this assertion because 
of the record of Standish's visit, but before his passing 
away one was discovered. 

An account of this is given on page 98 of the Usher 
history. At that time (1862) " five skeletons were found 
beneath the lawn in the rear of the house of the late 
Edward Brooks. One was in perfect condition, lying on 
its side w 7 ith the arms and legs drawn up, the head to 
the west and the face to the north." This was sent to the 
Agassiz Museum at Cambridge and given a "place of 
honor" there. In 18S2 another discovery was made as 
seen by the following from Mercury, September 2. 

L. W. Conant while digging a cellar on the Brooks place re- 
cently came across the skeletons of several Indians. They were 
placed mostly in a sitting posture, after the old Indian mode of 

Mr. Lucien Conant was the superintendent of the 
Brooks estate and lived in the farm house on High 
street, and near the granite arch, and the cellar referred 
to was probably that of a new barn close by. 

Soon after this last discovery, Mr. Francis Brooks 
caused to be erected on the lawn where the earlier dis- 
covery was made the monument shown in our illustra- 
tion. It consisted of three pieces : the base, a block of 
split (Concord) granite thirty-nine inches square and 
eighteen inches high ; the shaft, of dark Medford granite 
twenty inches square and fifty-eight inches high, set 
diagonally upon the base, and surmounted with a rough 
and irregular-shaped block of conglomerate. In the 
west face of the base is a dressed panel with the words, 


" Site of Indian Burial Place." A similar panel in the 
east has the dedication, " To Sagamore John and those 
Mystic Indians whose bones lie here." On the north 
and south (respectively) are the dates 1630 and 1884. 

Thus did Mr. Francis Brooks, as possessor of the soil 
wherein was this " Indian necropolis,"- reverently and 
honorably reinter the remains of those of a vanished race 
who possessed the land three centuries before. It was 
a commendable act, noticed at various times in public 
print, and views of this monument are extant, among 
them our illustration. The location was on the north- 
ern side of the canal's course, and the mansion house 
alluded to is seen in the background. 

After the death of Mr. Francis Brooks, this house was 
in the occupancy of various tenants until in May, 1909, 
his estate, comprising over fifty acres, passed into the 
hands of a real estate trust, which proceeded to lay out 
streets and house lots or building sites. The Mercury 
of May 28 and June 4 contains accounts of the sale 
and of efforts to save the bridge and monument from 

In his address of January 3, 19 10, Mayor Brewer 
alluded to the bridge, saying, " It is about the only sub- 
stantial relic of the old Middlesex Canal in Medforcl 
and I have been endeavoring to secure it for the city, 
together with a small oval of land, in order that the 
ancient structure may be preserved "; and of the other, 
" I wish to obtain the monument also for the city and to 
place it on the small oval, in front of the canal bridge, 
but up to the present have not succeeded in persuading 
the owners of the land that the city engineer's plan is 
the proper one." 

It would appear that all later efforts failed, as in 
August, 191 1, the beautiful structure, which might have 
continued a thing of beauty to attract the attention of 
visitors as it had in the many years agone, was torn 
down and used as common building stone in cellar walls. 
Had the mayor's plan succeeded, it might have been a 

56 MEDFORD IN 1837. [September, 

valuable asset to the locality and maintained by the park 

But what of the Indian monument? After a time it 
was moved by the new owners to the acute apex of a tri- 
angular lot on the new Sagamore avenue. Mention was 
later made of this in the local papers; also in a Bcston 
daily (September 14, 191 1) may be found a similar de- 
tailed account of a decaying- box moved to another 
burial plot beneath a maple tree. In 192 1 the maple 
tree having died, this ''burial plot " was cut into, to 
make a second connection of the new r er street with 
Sagamore avenue. This left the monument on an un- 
sightly mound of earth from which the foundation stones 
(said to be a vault) protrude. Its condition then was 
not one to inspire the visitors who came from other 
places with much respect for such as caused it. But 
this is not all. On the evening of October 31, last, the 
monument w r as overturned by the disorderly element 
that thus celebrate Hallowe'en, and now, well toward a 
year later remains in the same disgraceful condition. 

Along Sagamore avenue are the new dwellings erected 
in recent years, occupied by people whose good taste 
and sense of " the fitness of things " must be offended by 
the existing condition.- 

It may be that because the monument and its site is 
not public property that the commendable act of Mr. 
Brooks in its erection is thus made void. 


The year 1837 was in many ways a notable one in 
Medford's history. Medford had then about twenty-two 
hundred inhabitants, its ship-building was increasing 
(thirteen being built that year) and its roads were alive 
with ox-teams hauling in the requisite ship timber. The. 
Lowell railroad had been in operation but two years, 
but in that time had sounded the knell of the canal 

1922.] MEDFORD IN 1837. 57 

which had but reached its high tide of success in the 
years just preceding. 

The long controversy with the First Parish concern- 
ing the town's rights in the meeting house had been 
settled — adversely to the town — the result of two cen- 
turies' union of church and state. During the years of 
controversy, the town had erected a town-house at a 
cost (including land) of $10,062, that was destined to 
serve town and city for eighty years. 

In this new building convened the March meeting of 
1837 (on the sixth). Two days before, in Washington, 
Martin Van Buren was inaugurated eighth president of 
the United States. Though during the previous eight 
years' administration of Andrew 7 Jackson the national 
debt had been discharged and surplus distributed, 1837 
was a year of widespread financial panic. But it speaks 
well for Medford's citizens and administrators of that 
time that it was an era of publicity, and that six town 
meetings (by warrant or adjournment) prior to that of 
November were held in that new town hall. At the 
first meeting for town business the former town clerk, 
William D. Fitch, moved and it was voted-. 

1st That it shall be the duty of the committee for auditing the 
Treasurer's accounts to furnish a true statement of the expenses of 
the town the past year up to the 20th day of March 1837, together 
with the outstanding notes with interest against the town and make 
report thereof at the adjournment of this meeting 

2nd Also to prepare a statement of the receipts and expenditures 
of the town the past year, have the same arranged under distinct 
heads, and as particular as may be, and cause copies thereof to be 
printed for the use of the inhabitants at the expense of the town. 

3d Also the said committee to make an estimate of the probable 
necessary expenses of the town, and what money ought to be raised 
by taxation the current year and make report 

Also Resolved That it shall be the duty of a committee to be 
chosen at the November meeting to make the above statement 
annually up to the 15th of Feb. and cause copies of the same to be 
printed at the expense of the town, for the use of every voter and 
distributed with the warrant for March meeting, and also cause the 
same to be posted up in public places in the town. 




Voted That the aforesaid committee for auditing the Treasurer's 
accounts and attending to the foregoing resolves be paid for their 
services the same as allowed the assessors for the time employed in 
said services. 

That year the compensation of the town clerk was 
raised to $50, the selectmen were allowed $25 and the 
overseers of the poor $30. The assessors were paid 
$1.75 per day. The highwaymen, i.e., "man and horse 
each" on the roads, "nine shillings per day" — "horse 
and cart the same "until July 1 — after that, §1.25 per day. 

As a matter of interest we present a summary of that 
first printed report : — 

Bal. in treasury Feb 15, '38 $1419.58 
Lowell Institution for 

Savings 4000.00 

Taxes 7938.31 

School. Com. damage to 

Schoolhouse collected IO *75 

Nathan Adams for removal 

of house 10.12 

Sale of Fishing rights 96.00 

Stone posts from Charlestown 8.25 
State Treas. for State paupers 1 1 1 .94 


33 2 -37 



Schools $5764.28 

Poor 2082.92 

Notes payable and 

int. 333*-79 
Highways and 

Bridges 780*27 

Fire Dept. 324.62 

Law Suits 534.06 

Salaries & Fees 609.95 

Miscellaneous 524. 89 

Bal. in treasury 231.07 

School Fund 
,, ,, „ Military 
Jonas Coburn rent of store 
S. S. Green ,, ,, ,, 
Reading: Room Assn. 


Probable out- 
standing $1,183. 

One item in " Miscellaneous " is " Charles Caldwell. 
— platform and rail in front of desk, 17.50." A few of 
our older citizens will recall this furnishing of the old 
town hall that did duty until Medford became a city 
(perhaps longer), the elevated aisle through which the 
voters passed before the selectmen in voting by ballot. 

Another: " Zephaniah Stetson — newhearse $180.00" 


and "Andrew Blanchard — covering for same 3.78," this 
last a sort of cloth bag, placed over and about the hearse 
in its house at Cross street cemetery to protect it from 
dust in the intervals between its use. It did it so well 
that the hearse appreciated in value, being listed at $400 
in later years. 

Certainly that old first printed "Town Report " is in- 
teresting reading and furnishes " food for thought " as 
we compare it with those of recent years. 


Among our recent accessions is the poem here pre- 
sented, written with pencil in an elegant hand. It bears 
no date but is signed " Lincoln Swan." There were 
two of the name — cousins. Their grandfather, Samuel 
Swan, Jr., who lived at " Furness' corner" named one of 
his sons for his old Revolutionary commander, Benjamin 
Lincoln. There were six of them and a daughter, but 
none other had middle names. He abbreviated them 
all, saying: 

There are Sam, Dan Jo, Han Lin, Tim, Ca. 

Sam (uel) and Lin (coin) each had an eldest son, Ben- 
jamin Lincoln. One of these must have been the author 
of the poem, and along with our Mr. Hooper one of the 
schoolboys he tells of in his writing of the "bower " on 
p. 13, Vol. XXII, of the Register. We incline to the 
thought that he was son of the Benjamin Lincoln Swan 
who moved to New York. 


Called the Bower, in the Woods of Medford, after 
Several Years' Absence 
Beautiful Bower ! my long-loved spot, 
In boyhood's sunny days, 
Happy and rare has been thy lot, 
For finger of change has marr'd thee not, 
Or spirit of cold decay. 


Touchingly true thy features look 

To memory's glistening eye; 

It knoweth them all — the shady nook — 

The dark grey rock and the little brook 

So merrily whirling by. 

The sinuous path with leaves bestrew'd, 
The bank with moss o'ergrown, 
The sunless gloom of the hemlock wood 
And that old sycamore tree that stood 
Just down by the stream alone. 

The leafless oak by the hillock's brink, 
That scath'd and splintering thing, 
With a mark on its trunk like a line of ink, 
And last, not least (as we used to think) 
The limb that upheld our swing. 

And here's the old stump of a hollow tree, 

With squirrels in it still, 

And here again as it used to be, 

A woodchuck burrowing his gallery 

At the foot of yonder hill. 

And again I hear in the forest's hush, 
The chewink's plaintive cry, 
And hear as of old, a mocking-thrush, 
Perch'd over his nest in yonder bush, 
Whistling melodiously. 

How strangely like ! and Memory's light 
Plays softly o'er the scene. 
The visions of youth come fresh to sight 
As if they were but yesternight, 
Though years have rolled between. 

Yet mournfully has my spirit mov'd 
Among these scenes today. 
They are unchanged : but those who rov'd 
Beside me once, those forms beloved, 
I see not — where are they ? 

— Lincoln Swan. 


Otis Street. 

Dedicated March 10, 1907. 

Church ortfaniz.-d, 1822. First buildiner, 1828. 

Second House of Worship, 1845. 

Third edifice erected 1872. Burned August 19, 1905. 

The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXV. . DECEMBER, 1922. No. 4. 



he year 1922 has been a notable one for Medford 
church anniversaries. Four have been observed, 
marking the lapse of a century, and its fractions of half 
and three quarters. As incidental to, and part of Med- 
ford history, the Register makes note of them. 

The first in order was that of the First Methodist Epis- 
copal, whose beginning was on July 28, 1822. Summer 
vacations were not in vogue a century ago, and so many 
other changes have come in the years that it is well to 
consider for a little what the Medford of that day was, 
and why the event celebrated took place. As to amount, 
Medford was practically the same area as today, though 
since reduced at one side and increased on another. As 
to population, fifteen hundred. Five country roads 
radiated from the "market place," or business center, 
now called the " square," and these had but few branches. 
Three distilleries were in operation, and ship-building 
was on the increase. The civic center was the meeting- 
house up High street. There the sovereign people 
gathered in town meeting. James Monroe was Presi- 
dent, for the American republic was still young. Dr. 
John Brooks of Medford had been for several years 
Governor of Massachusetts, and lived just out of the 
market place. The public conveyances were the stage 
coach and the slow-moving canal boat, for the railroad 
was thirteen years in the future. The sewing machine 
the daguerreotype, gas, kerosene lamps and electric tele 
graph were all unheard of. Public schools were of the 


most primitive type and public worship was at the man- 
agement and expense of the town, which levied a special 
rate or tax to pay the minister, who was settled for life. 

Into such Medford came the organization of a seco?id 
church, in 1822, on lines of religious thought held by a 
few residents fifty years before, which years were the 
last of colony times. But they were a minority, though 
they had the courage of their convictions and dared ex- 
press them. Outnumbered and outvoted, they grace- 
fully yielded to their associates and gave the newly 
called pastor their loyal support. 

Then came the Revolution, which like all wars, had 
its debasing effects, however much patriotism maybe 
commended. The " state religion " of New England 
was of the Congregational order of Pilgrim and Puritan. 
In the reconstruction that followed the Revolution came 
the rallying of other religious forces and effort in the 
organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
1789 and the Protestant Episcopal in 1794. Both were 
essentially American and early pledged their allegiance 
and support to the administration of Washington. 

Neither were any too gladly welcomed in Massachu- 
setts by the " standing order," where the state religion 
was intrenched behind a tax levy on one's estate and 
u faculty." Such tax levied, it was a case of pay or go to 
jail. Thus we may see that it took some courage for any 
dissenters from the established order to worship in any 
other form a century ago. 

But during the first forty years of the republic, certain 
changes in the tenets of the established order had gradu- 
ally developed, and in Medford, as in other places, the 
parting of the way was approaching, as the long pastor- 
ate of David Osgood was nearing its close. In Lynn, 
Boston and the adjoining towns of Maiden and Charles- 
town, " societies," i.e. churches, of the new Methodist 
Episcopal order had been formed. From the latter came 
one of its number preaching the gospel of full and free 
salvation, which differed somewhat from the Calvinistic 


doctrine of earlier days. The doors of the meeting- 
house, the place of public assemblage, were not open to 
him or the doctrines he preached, but in a building 
down on old Ship street, people gathered to hear Josiah 
Brackett, a business man, licensed by his church to 
preach, tell the story of salvation through Christ. The 
next gathering was in the ball room of the tavern, and one 
hundred people came — one-fifteenth of the entire popu- 
lation of the town. 

Such was the beginning of the second church in Med- 
ford a century ago, the beginning of a new order which 
within two years was to be followed by the practical 
division of the old parish and the end of "state religion," 
and then again by other branches of the Christian 

Today the denomination Josiah Brackett pioneered 
has in Medford five congregations which have grown 
from that effort, and it was with a feeling of gratitude 
and commendable pride that the First Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, taking time a little by the forelock, led off 
in the series of anniversary observances — its centennial 
beginning with the morning service of Sunday, March 19. 
Rev. James E. Coons, D. D., Superintendent of Lynn 
District (of N. E. Conference), in which Medford is, 
preached the sermon. The text (Heb. xi : 8), " and he 
went out, not knowing whither he went." 

During the weeks that preceded, various repairs had 
been in progress on the comparatively new church edi- 
fice, and this occasion was taken to provide for the 
liquidation of the balance of incurred expense, and the 
sufficient sum of $800 was pledged for its cancellation. 
In the evening Rev. L. H. Murlin, D.D., president of 
Boston University, preached to a crowded house. Aside 
from the features mentioned, this Sabbath's services dif- 
fered not from those usually held. 

According to the printed program, Monday, March 20, 
was u Historical Night." A pouring rain came in the 
afternoon and early evening, which doubtless kept many 


away. Yet it was a goodly audience that gathered in 
the auditorium and patiently listened to the roll-call of 
the present membership of five hundred and seventy- 
five, and introductory remarks of the pastor, Rev. D. 
Harold Hickey. The features of the evening were the 
addresses of Herbert A. Weitz, Esq., and Miss Katherine 
Saxe. The latter, a "child of the church," spoke of 
"Some Personalities of First Church," from her own 
acquaintance with the faithful worthies she told of. . 

The address of Mr. Weitz is of much historic value to 
the church and community, the result of careful search 
and study, and covered all points and the entire history of 
the church for the century, and even went further back. 
It should be printed and generally read, as it supple- 
ments all previous accounts and brings the church's 
history down to date. 

Tuesday, March 21, was "Former Pastors' Night." 
Eight of them were present, and with their wives formed 
a long receiving line. Dr. N. T. Whitaker, whose pas- 
torate was 1869-70-71, was followed by Revs. Watkins, 
Bragg, Curnick, Chadbourne, Pomeroy, Bridgham and 
Richardson in the order of their service. A later pastor, 
(Vandermark) unable to come, was represented by his 
wife. Their remarks were reminiscent, instructive and 
encouraging, often facetious, but all in happy vein. 
From the dim and shadowy past came the congratu- 
latory message of Rev. Edward Stuart Best, pastor in 
'55-56. It was like a benediction, the letter of " Father 
Best," now in his ninety-seventh year, the oldest member 
of the New England Conference. 

There was a considerable number of former members 
of the church that came to this reunion, and the occa- 
sion was one of much interest to them, especially in the 
interchange of reminiscences of the years agone. Prob- 
ably, of such, not more than three were members fifty 
years ago, while few of their children can remember with 
any distinctness the half-century observance. 

On Wednesday evening the announcement called for 

i m { fr 

/r j * 

Corner Bower and Holton Streets, West Medford. 

Church organized April 1, 1872. 

First House of Worship dedicated November 6, 1^73. 

Dedication of present edifice March 11, 18%. 


a " Union Prayer Meeting of the Methodist Churches of 
Medford" — " Love Feast, in charge of Dr. C. F. Rice." 
The chapel was not overcrowded. Prayer was offered 
by the pastor, hymns sung. Dr. Rice, pastor of the 
VVellington church, preached a short and excellent ser- 
mon and brief remarks were made by local and visiting 
members. It was a profitable and enjoyable occasion, 
but not on the old-time lines. 

Thursday evening's concert and readings marked the 
close of the anniversary program, making a way mark in 
the history of Medford Methodism in marked contrast 
to its beginning a century ago. 

This church now occupies its fourth house of worship. 
The first three were not widely separated in location. 
This, however, is near the northeastern border of the 
city, with no immediate neighboring church, and of late 
has styled itself " A Community Church." 

In 1822 it was an "adventurer," but it soon had its 
fellows, sometime rivals, but in the lapse of years com- 
ing to a better fellowship in common service. 

Trinity, the second church of the Methodist Episcopal 
order in Medford, is in the western part of the city. 
Though its birthday came on April first, it was a reality, 
and its history of fifty years one most interesting. In a 
way, it also was an " adventurer." In the fifty years 
preceding, the various leading denominations had found 
place in Medford, their houses of worship all near the 
square, except that of the Roman Catholic, which, serv- 
ing both Medford and Maiden, was near the town 
boundary. In those fifty years the population had quad- 
rupled, being in 1870, five thousand, seven hundred and 
seventeen, with but scant increase in the outlying sec- 
tions. Its increase began in West Medford in 1870. 
There, first a Sunday school, and later in '68, a com- 
munity preaching service was begun, and continued for 
four years. From this grew two churches. Trinity had 
suitably remembered its fifteenth, twenty-fifth, thirty- 
fifth and fortieth birthdays, and naturally looked forward 


to the attainment of fifty years with a commendable 
pride and interest, and five months in advance com- 
menced its preparations, by appointing a general com- 
mittee from its various departments. One feature 
specialized was the raising of a "Jubilee Fund" of 
two thousand dollars to ensure no deficit in current ex- 
penses, and to make some needed improvements in the 
church property. 

A monthly paper of sixteen pages called Trinity 
Jubilee Chimes, edited by the pastor, was issued and 
widely circulated during the last quarter of the " Jubilee 
year" and the two months following. 

The special features of Jubilee week, covering two 
Sabbaths, were announced in an attractive booklet pro- 
gram and carried out with much enthusiasm. 

Sunday, March 26, was an ideal day as to weather 
conditions and a large expectant company gathered, and 
the keynote was struck in the processional hymn, " The 
Year of Jubilee is Come," by the vested choir of Trinity's 
young people, who crowded their seats and sang, besides 
the hymns, special selections. 

The usual order of morning service, in which the con- 
gregation participated with much feeling, was followed 
by the sermon of the pastor on "The Ministry of Jubilee." 

At the noon hour special note of the occasion was 
taken in the Sabbath School and in the Men's Class by 
brief addresses of a reminiscent kind. 

At six o'clock the young people of the Epworth 
League had their special service, and at seven came the 
dedication of the " Jubilee lights." When Trinity's 
second house was built, electric lighting had not at- 
tained its present excellent status and its cost had to be 
reckoned with. But in the jubilee program it was 
assured. The evening service began in a dimly lighted 
room, but at the close of the dedicatory prayer the new 
lights shone in beauty on the new Bible, the new flags, 
choir draperies and altar carpets, all blending in wor- 
shipful harmony. 


At this service was present Rev. John Fletcher Brant, 
who served as Trinity's pastor in 1875 (it being his first 
regular appointment as " preacher in charge " in the 
ministry) whose reminiscent address was both interest- 
ing and helpful. 

A feature of the evening was the special selections by 
the choir. 

Tuesday was devoted to " Our History." A rainy 
day was followed by a foggy evening, but Trinity's 
people assembled in goodly numbers with a good rep- 
resentation of interested friends filling the auditorium. 
The exercises, under the direction of Chairman Wells C. 
Warner, opened by the processional in the usual order 
by the vested choir, and prayer by Pastor Bullock. As 
the occasion marked (nearly) the twenty-fifth anniver- 
sary of the dedication of the present church, it was fitting 
that the first dedication hymn of Medford Methodism 
be sung. Written by John Newland Maffit in 1828 (for 
the first house of First M. E. Church on Cross street), it 
was on this occasion thrown on the screen and sung by 
choir and people. 

After introduction by the chairman (who later, upon 
call, read from the records of the first two meetings for 
organization) the historical address was given by Moses 
Whitcher Mann, an original member, and illustrated by 
one hundred and seven lantern slides. Dealing briefly 
with the early history of the ancient town, the introduc- 
tion of Methodism in 1822, the speaker told of the West 
Medford of the 'seventies into which Methodism came. 

Tracing the history for fifty years, portraits of nearly 
every pastor and wife were shown. The first official 
board and many of church workers and members of 
early years, and the " Ladies' Aid " down to date were 
shown, and those within present memory continually 

Rev.Charles Tilton,who as pastor led the effort for final 
freedom from debt, was present, spoke in his usual happy 
vein, and offered the closing prayer and benediction. 


On Wednesday evening came the Jubilee reunion. 
Three former pastors, Cassidy, in whose time the pres- 
ent church edifice was erected, Tilton and Van Buskirk 
were present. Each was accorded a hearty greeting and 
spoke words of cheer and counsel. 

Like a wonderful benediction was the presence of 
Rev. N. T. Whitaker (pastor at Medford in 1870-72), 
who organized the class-meeting in October, '71, and 
was present at the formal organization, April 1, '72, and 
also preached the twenty-fifth anniversary sermon. He 
has but recently retired from the active pastorate of 
Saxonville church. In his advanced years of four score 
he found it a pleasure to attend both Medford and West 
Medford festivities in memory of his services a half cen- 
tury before and the "grand old man " was listened to 
with marked attention. 

Then followed an impressive scene — the calling the 
roll of the honored pastors gone before, the entire as- 
sembly standing. 

At the name of Jarvis A. Ames (1887-88-89) an ex- 
tract from one of his pastoral reports was read, which 
was like a message from an old-time friend. 

Letters were read from several former pastors who 
were unable to attend, and quite a number of former 
members (now removed) were at this home-coming. But 
two of the original members still remain. Three of the 
Ladies' Aid Society of 1873 were present. Music was 
furnished by an orchestra and refreshments by the young 
ladies of the Epworth League during the social hour 
that followed. 

Thursday brought the closing snowstorm of the 
season and occupants for every seat at the banquet 
tables. The young men were much in evidence, and 
cheering and victrola selections made jubilee music. 
The Jubilee menu was done ample justice and the 
Jubilee address was by Rev. Dr. H. H. Crane of Maiden 
Center church, a wonderfully inspiring one. 

On Saturday evening, under winter skies and with 

F s» ^ : 

'•■■: V-f 

Corner High and Allston Streets. 

Dedicated January S, 1V0.5. 

Church organized June 12, 1872. 

First House of Worship, corner Harvard Avenue and Bovver Street. 

Dedicated October 14, 1874. 

Destroyed by fire March 4, 1903. 


winter travel the real birthday of Trinity Church was 
noted in the very rooms where the first meeting was 
held, by a quiet hour of prayer. This was made pos- 
sible by the kindly courtesy of present owners, Mr. L. 
VV. Bragdon and sisters. 

On Sunday, April 2, Rev. James T. Beebe, D.D., 
preached an appropriate sermon and spoke to the Men's 
Class about Boston University's School of Theology, of 
which he is dean, and where most of Trinity's pastors 
have studied. In the evening the Jubilee exercises 
were finished by the pastor's address," A Closed Jubilee" — 
a report of the year's work. For several Sabbaths pre- 
ceding and on the two Jubilee Sabbaths the altar flowers 
were provided in memory of former members and rela- 
tives of the donors. 

The later issues of the Chimes made mention of the 
various features, and with the anniversary program may 
be found in the library of the Historical Society. 

Next in order to celebrate was the West Medford 
Congregational Church, which was organized by an 
Ecclesiastical Council on June 12, 1872. 

Like its neighbor (Trinity Church), it made early 
planning for its observance and carried it out well, 
though on somewhat different lines. The observance 
included but one Sabbath's service and for convenience 
ended on June 1 1 —just within the fifty years. 

On Thursday, June 8, the exercises opened with a 
" Pageant," in which nearly one hundred members of 
the church and parish took part. 

The pageant was the thought and writing of the 
present pastor, Rev. Henry Francis Smith, and con- 
sisted of seven episodes, the first " The Incarnation," and 
the seventh, " The Fruit of the Far Flung Years," in 
which the entire number of participants were gathered. 

In the first episode, the " Mother of our Lord " was 
seen kneeling beneath the shaded light (by Elizabeth 
Lowry) while strains of " Magnificat " came from the 
choir loft 


Episode 2 was " The Great Commission." The eleven 
apostles (of Ascension Day) and " two men in white " 
were seen silently "gazing up into heaven." 

Episode 3, " The Christian Westward-Ho ," brought 
the audience down the ages, by the presence of the 
"Spirit of Christianity," and of " Paul," " Gregory the 
Great," and "Augustine" and the more visible person- 
alities of Wickliffe, Tyndale and Robert Browne. 

Episode 4 was styled " An Unfamiliar." This repre- 
sented a gathering of the Puritans in Old England, 
planning for their migration to a new world. 

The fifth, in time two centuries and a half later, was ! 
styled " Fifty Years Ago," and did honor to one of the 
good women who began a Sunday school in West Med- 
ford, Mrs. Rachel Barnes. She was impersonated by 
Gertrude Haynes. Then came the " Spirit of West 
Medford Church," by Katherine Powers. Next came 
six men representing the "charter members" (one was 
a son of one of them) who held a meeting and decided 
to organize a church. 

Episode 6, " The End of the Golden Era," had seven 
spirits, each representing some phase of church work: 
The Church School, Woman's League, Good Cheer 
Club, Brotherhood, Christian Endeavor, Boy Scouts, 
Camp Fire, then two of the smallest of the Choir chil- 
dren, followed by a soldier in uniform, and last came the 
missionary (from this church, now in India), the " Spirit 
of Mary Rogers." 

The closing episode of "The Far Flung Years " massed 
all the participants in review, and its entire presentation 
was the result of much thought and effort on the part of 
the author and all that managed and carried it through 
so successfully. . 

During the presentation there looked out from the 
screen the portraits of the seven pastors of the church 
during the half century. Three have gone on before — 
Messrs. Jaggar, Stebbins and Clancy, two- — Messrs. 
Hood and Yorke, sent letters of regret. But it was like 


11 good old times," the coming of the second, Rev. Marshall 
M. Cutter. 

The pageant was repeated on Friday evening with 
even greater success, and on Saturday evening was the 
"Anniversary Reunion," this also in the auditorium. 
The pastor presided. The historical sketch of the 
church and parish was read by Mr. Alexander Diebold, 
and showed a careful search of record and grouping of 
the facts of a highly interesting history. 

Addresses were made by Rev. Mr. Cutter and Rev. 
Arthur Ackerman of Natick, a son of one of the charter 
members. He regretted the fact that he was the only 
one to go into the Christian ministry from this church, 
and made an earnest appeal to the young people along 
that line. He was followed by his brother Herbert, 
who was one of the " charter members," but now of the 
Mystic Church, in brief but happy remembrance of the 
early days. (See Mr. Ackerman's "West Medford Con- 
gregational Church," in Register, Vol. XIII, p. 25.) 

This church has now on its roll the names of but two 
members of 1872. One, Miss Abby Teele, was present 
but did not feel equal to the task of making reply; 
another, Mrs. Sarah Foster, whose membership is forty- 
eight years, was introduced, and spoke her gratitude 
and pleasure. Both were presented with floral tokens. 

A social hour was enjoyed in the chapel, where an in- 
teresting collection of books, pictures and papers con- 
nected with the local church history which had been col- 
lected by Miss Katharine Stone, was on view. Refresh- 
ments were served by the young people and opportunity 
of renewing old acquaintance was well improved, as 
many old timers came home. 

The services on Sunday were in the usual order and 
form in Congregational churches, but instead of morn- 
ing sermon a brief and appropriate address by Pastor 
Smith. Baptism and reception of new members fol- 
lowed the celebration of the Lord's Supper, Rev. 
Messrs. Cutter and Smith officiating. But two (pos- 



sibly three) persons form a connecting link between 
that service and this church's first Communion occasion 
in August, 1872, held in Mystic Hall, and the two con- 
sider themselves favored by " Old Time " in his flight. 

At the evening service the sermon was by Rev. Oscar 
Maurer, D.D., of New Haven, Conn., a college class- 
mate of the pastor, the prayer by Rev. T. C. Richards 
of Mystic Church, the invocation by Rev. Dr. Morgan, 
a recent supply pastor during Pastor Smith's absence in 
oversea work. The responsive reading was led by Rev. 
M. L. Bullock of Trinity Church. Of course, it was 
fitting that Mr. Cutter, the first settled pastor, should 
^ have the last word, the beyiediction, which he prefaced 

by a brief prayer that added to the impressiveness of 
the occasion. 

The music was of a high order, and this church has 
the peculiarity of having two vested choirs, the " second 
choir" entering the auditorium in processional hymn, 
and leaving their seats in the rear gallery by the oppo- 
site aisle in the recessional. On this anniversary occa- 
sion both choirs sang the antiphonal anthem (by Turner) 
" Sing to the Lord." 

June, the month of roses, is a favorable time, and the 
floral decorations of Saturday evening and Sunday were 
exceedingly tasteful. 

As on the day of organization in 1872, between the 
"council" and the recognition service in the evening 
came a terrific thunder storm, so on this anniversary 
Sunday came another with greater downpour of rain, 
both clearing for the evening hour. 

So passed into history another pleasant memory of 
the anniversary of another church of fifty years. 

After seventy-five years of church life, with, by the 
lapse of time, none of the early members and few of 
their descendants or those that knew them, Mystic Church 
gathered to do them honor and celebrate its anniversary. 

Mystic Church has a history of its own, though some- 
what interlocked with another that preceded it twenty- 

Salem Street. 

Organized July 6, 1847. 

Church building dedicated February 14. 1849. 

Union of First Trin. Cony'l and Mystic Churches, December 31, 1874. 

This House of Worship enlarged and remodelled in 1875 to present form. 

Rededicated January 12, 1S76. 


four years before, and whose centennial in 1923, if 
observed, must be by Mystic Church, because of the 
union of the older with the younger church in 1874. 
And Mystic Church made a good beginning this year 
toward that event. 

On Friday evening, October 20, an illustrated lecture 
by the pastor showed the Pilgrims from old England 
and the Puritans of New England, the founders of 

Sunday, October 22, its announcement styled "His- 
torical Day." The usual form of Sabbath worship was 
observed, and the pastor, Rev. Thomas C. Richards, 
took for text of his anniversary address Heb. XH40: 
" Better things for us, that they without us should not 
be made perfect." He seemed to have studied Medford 
history as well as local church history, for he told of the 
political situation and industrial improvements and in- 
ventions of that day. We quote a few extracts: — 

Medford was an overgrown country village of thirty-four hun- 
dred people, with ox-carts and shirt sleeves. No police force or 
water system was in the town and bath-rooms out of the question. 
Trains on the Medford branch had just begun to run, but with 
better schedule than now. Ship building was the main industry, 
thirty in 1845. The town was wealthy, twenty-sixth in the state 
in property and only fifty-second in population. 

" Every institution is the lengthened shadow of a man." Mystic 
Church owes more to Galen James, deacon and ship-builder than 
to any other. At the age of thirty-two he led seventeen members 
out of the old town church, in protest, to establish a new church. 
Twenty-four years later he led the secession of sixty to organize 
Mystic Church. 

The separation was not due to doctrinal, but to personal and 
political reasons. It was a time of swarming. The Baptist Church 
organized in 1S42, and the Methodist work took on new life two 
years later. 

Between 1S40 and '50 population had increased fifty per cent 
and business was booming, especially ship building. All pews in 
the High street church were rented. 

Mr. Richards alluded to the real cause of separation, 
as seen by one article added to the Confession of Faith 
of Mystic Church: — 



"This church regards slave-holding, the traffic in and use of 
intoxicating liquors as a beverage, gambling and such things as 
inconsistent with the Christian life." 

and read another article in that little book of principles 
adopted, and added, 

It is interesting to think how this rule would affect the pastor 
and officials of the church today. It was a progressive step for 
those days. 

Galen James was in advance of his time. Neither abolitionists 
or temperance advocates were popular, and his advocacy of such 
measures made him many enemies. They called him "Pope 
James," and the Mystic Church folks " Come-outers," but it is 
noticeable that the fight for reform healed many divisions made by 

• * * * * 

How shall we show our loyalty to their unfinished task ? Not 
by accepting their creeds and formulas, but by the same desire for 
truth, the same firm courage of our conviction, and intense sin- 
cerity. We need today to be pioneers of progress, " Come-outers," 
dare to be in advance of our times and dare to lead and let others 
follow. They dared to apply their Christianity to the great moral 
issues of the time. Do we dare to do the same? 

The quartet choir rendered excellent music, and led 
the congregation in the singing of the hymns. 

At the noon hour the large vestry was filled on occa- 
sion of the " Historical Celebration, Reunion and Exhibit 
of the Work of the Sunday School." Former Superin- 
tendents Chapin and Loomis told of the school of 1876, 
and Miss E. Josephine Wilcox, with forty years' experi- 
ence, gave a " History of the Mystic Sunday School " 
that reads wonderfully well and should be an inspira- 
tion to all workers. (It is well reported in the Medford 
Mercury of October 27.) The music was with orches- 
tral accompaniment of violin and 'cello and the whole 
hour was one of great interest. 

The evening service was by the Christian Endeavor 
workers and was well carried out and brought many 
former members together. 

Monday, October 23, was "Social Day " with "The 
Women's Meeting" in the afternoon with President 


(Mrs.) Miller making the "Welcoming " address, and 
Miss Wilcox in conduct of the exercises. Mrs. Holyoke 
brought the greetings of the Unitarian and Mrs. Smith 
of the West Medford Congregational churches. Wives of 
three former pastors also told of their times in Mystic 
Church. These were Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Barstow and Mrs. 
Butler, the latter in a poem. Then came the "Women 
of Mystic Church " by one of them, Miss Eliza M. Gill, 
and read by Mrs. M. Susan Goodale. It was certainly 
a "tribute of praise " of those worthies and a " labor of 
love " for her church by its writer. 

In the evening came the "Anniversary Dinner," to 
which ample justice was done. Former Pastors Hill, 
Barstow and Butler were present and made addresses — 
also the Rev. Barstow's son, Rev. Robbins Barstow. After 
a mid-week rest, on Friday evening came " The People 
and History of Mystic Church in Picture," with address 
by one of Medford's accredited historians, Miss Helen 
Tilden Wild. During the hour eighty-five " pictures " 
were shown, and face after face of the solid, worthy and 
reliable men and women of old Medford, attired in the 
style of their day, appeared before a delighted company 
as the speaker told of them and of their faith and works. 
Mystic Church is fortunate in having three such faithful 
chroniclers as these, but Pastor Richards avers that much 
credit is due Deacon H. N. Ackerman, president of the 
Historical Society, for getting together the portraits for 
the preparation of the needful slides and their suitable 

On Sunday, October 29, Rev. Nehemiah Boynton, 
D.D., a " son of the church," came home to preach the 
closing sermon of the anniversary. We quote a few 
passages : — 

This was my church into which I was born. To it I owe more 
than to any other institution in the world. It has permeated my 
life. It was the church of my father and mother, where they ob- 
tained grace and patience to train the children. The constable and 
the schoolmaster worshipped here. I can see Rev. Solon Cobb — 
with a mustache every boy envied. He believed a boy had a soul, 


and he put the stamp of his influence on our lives. I shared the 
activities of the church as a waiter at church suppers, as librarian 
and usher, took up collections and blew the organ. I stood before 
this altar as a boy and pledged my allegiance to the Christian life. It 
was'all before me then. Now some of it is in the beautiful yester- 
days. . . . The spirit of the old Book lives in the world today with a 
power of its own. . . . We have come to realize the kind of 
church Jesus wanted. . . . Our fathers had the Bible and a 
vision and handed them over to us. We are fitting it all to the 
needs of our lives, that we may hand our work over to our boys, 
> not having spot or blemish. 

At 4.30 p.m. the vesper service was conducted by the 
young people. An excellent musical program was ren- 
dered and address given by Miss Ruth Richards. 

# # # # # 

Such were the milestones set up as marking the 
progress of four of Medford's churches during a century 
— way marks in the history of the town, now grown 
twenty-six times to a populous city. 

Incidentally, we note that there are today twenty-six 
worshipping congregations, while the seating capacity 
of their church edifices is not so ample (proportionally) 
as that of the town meeting house of 1822. Surely, Med- 
ford is not over-churched but rather (to borrow a word) 
under-congregation ized. 

In 1822, the public worship of God was at the town's 
expense and the "house of the Lord " built and owned by 
the town. Any dissenting from the state (or town) re- 
ligion might, it is true, worship otherwise or elsewhere, 
but at their own personal expense and inconvenience. 

The little company that assembled in the " College " 
on old Ship street (which, by the way, was not a college 
building), with Josiah Brackett as their preacher, were 
the earliest pioneers, and the next year followed by Galen 
James and his associates. 

The opening sentence of Dr. Coons at the Methodist 
Centennial was, "All the world loves an adventurer." 
To this we would add — when the venture is success- 
ful. But how was it in Medford a century ago? 


The adventurers of 1822 were but few, almost un- 
known, not blessed with wealth, as their house of wor- 
ship not erected till 1828 would indicate. That it was 
so small, unpretentious and built of second-hand material 
shows somewhat of the effort, and also that Medford's 
love for the adventurer was none too ardent. Even the 
later ones led by Galen James (of which Mystic Church 
is outcome) though possessed of means and able to erect 
a stately edifice, found old friendships disturbed for a 

But the growth of all four whose birthday celebrations 
we have here noted proves that " nothing succeeds like 


In a book of nearly five hundred pages, recently pub- 
lished, is a list of titles of nearly thirty-five hundred 
broadsides issued in Massachusetts prior to the year 
1800, the first being (from the Stephen Daye press set 
up in Cambridge in 1638) " The Freeman's Oath? 

Three in the list are credited to Medford, two of them 
in 1771. One is a "Poem, Medford, Printed & Sold 
177 1 " and the first two lines are quoted : — 

ONE GOD there is, of wisdom, Glory, Might : 
One truth there is, to guide our Souls aright. 

The poem consists of twelve verses of four lines plen- 
tifully capitalized and italicized, enumerating " Two 
Testaments," "Three Persons in the Trinity," " Four 
Evangelists," "Five Senses," "Six Days," "Seven Lib'ral 
Arts," " Eight Persons in the Ark," " Nine Muses," "Ten 
Commandments," " Eleven Disciples did with Jesus 
pray," and closing with 

TWELVE there were among our Fathers Old, 
Twelve Articles our Christian Faith doth hold, 
Twelve Gates to New Jerusalem there be, 
Unto which place may Christ bring you and me. 




A foot note (in the book) says, " No printer has been 
identified with Medford this year." 
The other is, 

A Poem 

Occasioned by the late sudden and awful Death of a Young Woman, who 

was found drowned in Medford— River July 14, 1771 

Printed & Sold 1771. 

As in the first, this quotes the opening lines — there are 
sixty-six in all. We have seen the originals in the collec- 
tion of the Massachusetts Historical Society and quote 
but four lines: — 

Now unto you I shall relate 
The awful and surprizeing fate 
Of a fair Maid, both young and Gay 
Who lived in Maiden, as they say. 

It was the same old sad story of mistaken confidence, 
betrayal and suicide, antedating " The River's Death- 
Roil," which has appeared in the Register. There is 
no clue to the authorship of the u poem." 

The third broadside referred to is of the collection at 
Harvard College, and is a sheet eight by thirteen inches, 
frayed at the edges and torn into the print at the left, 
but the missing print is supplied by the context. Its 
title is 

A True and Wonderful Relation 

of the Appearance of 

Three Angels 

(Cloathed in White Raiment) to a Young Man* 

in Medford, near Boston on the 4th of* 

February 1791 at Night 


With the Substance of the Discourse delivered by one of the Angels from 

Colossians III— 4 

*These two lines were included in one in the broadside. 

, Beneath are three columns of print. First is quoted, 
Joel II-28, next an index finger pointing to the publish- 
ers' notice, then a column and a quarter of the statement 
of the " young man " as to his " distress of mind " and the 
appearance of the " angels," one of whom "addressed him 
for the space of an hour," and part of which address he 




"penned down," and which follows his statement in the 
remainder oi the broadside. 

Who the printer was, or whether this broadside was 
printed in Medford, is unknown; there is nothing to in- 
dicate either fact but the publisher evidently expected 
an incredulous reception and fortified it with Scripture 
and commended the author as one worthy of belief. 

As we read it today, in the light of many modern 
views and experiences of people of various religious be- 
liefs and thought, the query naturally arises, what effect 
had such a publication in the little town of but a thou- 
sand people ? 

Evidently his remarkable story had been heard to 
some extent, so much so that he was requested to pub- 
lish the same. How large an edition was printed is un- 
known, but this is a "treasured broadside today." " In 
these things lies the material of history." Doubtless it 
was discussed around the firesides of Medford, in the 
taverns and wherever people or neighbors met. 

And who was this "young man," Ebenezer Adams? 
There was a Benjamin Adams who came to Medford 
from Plainfield in October, 1756, and licensed as an inn- 
holder in the same year. His family was wife Elizabeth 
and six children — Simeon, Ebenezer, Abraham, Solo- 
mon. Levi and Martha (whether in this order is uncer- 
tain) but all were "warned out" May 3, 1757. 

Such was the custom of early times in order to avoid 
the liability of the town for support. Three months 
unwarned residence gained recognition but not all thus 
warned departed. Benjamin Adams may have had good 
staying qualities, but his son Ebenezer could hardly 
have been the " young man " of the broadside. Possible- 
it was a son or nephew of his who told the remarkable 
story which was evidently so real to him. 

Perhaps " others mocking said " something about "new 
wine," otherwise Old Medford, but the publisher fol- 
lowed St Peter's example and quoted the prophet : 

" Your young men shall see visions." 

80 December, 1922 


Twenty-five years ago in the heyday of its youth and 
the sunshine of popular favor our Historical Society 
issued its first Register. This is the one hundredth 
number. It has changed its dress but once, and that of 
necessity, but it still wears the same trimming, not 
woolen, but designed by Woolley at its outset. 

On the last cover page the Society's seal is crowded 
somewhat by an automobile, — almost unknown in '96, — 
but that has been the fate of many a pedestrian. 

This page makes 2594, exclusive of covers and title 
pages, index and advertisements, the whole forming a 
substantial and reliable addition to the literature of 
Medford. This last because in all the quarter century 
it has aimed to deal exclusively with Medford matters 
and those closely related thereto. 

During that time, Medford has trebled in population 
and changed in many ways, — some not for the better. 
Yet there is hope, in a good citizenship and a 100 per cent 
Americanism. Another thing has trebled — our cost of 
publication, but not the popular favor to keep pace with it, 
while the subscription price has been but little advanced. 
The publication committee has its problem to solve. 
Very few of the over a hundred historical societies of 
Massachusetts have such record of publication as has 
ours. We hope to continue it with success. 

We mentioned popular favor at first. It is now the 
"winter of our discontent," because in our cosmopolitan 
growth and the unrest of recent years the preservation 
of our history and worthy traditions seems to be for- 

Both our Historical Society and its Register need 
and will welcome interested workers and willing helpers 
in place of those now passed on. 

And in these closing lines the editor, now nearly fif- 
teen years in service, wishes to thank his helpers of the 
past for their many favors. 


[NO. 1 


i ill ^ 



I "S|LlLJLS^^^^»^i 




; >;.iT '~ . »* .': .^.-^.*wossEi'i»7)iia!ip5K*3En>^^^ "■ 






MEDFORD SHIP-BUILDERS . . . . .7 \ Frontispiece 

STORY OF A MEDFORD PIANO. Moses IV. Mann . . . . 1 



Entered as second-class matter, under the act of July 16, 1894, 
Medford Station, Boston, Massachusetts. 


Published quarterly (March, June, September, and December) 


Medford Historical Society, 
'V at 

.No. 10 Governors Avenue, Medford, Mass. 

Subscription price, SI, 50 a year, postpaid. Single copies, 40 cents. 

For sale at the Society Rooms and by the Treasurer. 

Publication Committee. 




Editor, MOSES W. MANN. 
Exchange list in charge of Geo. S. T. Fuller, 15 George Street. 

Advertising Manager, Miss E. R. ORNE. 


I give and bequeath to the Medford Historical Society, in 

the city of Medford, Mass., the sum of : Dollars for 

the general use and purposes of said Society. 

/ '•.'/' (Signed) _ — 




Deposits go on interest the last day of each month 
in your home bank 



Bedford Trust Company . | 

Hours, 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Saturdays, 8 A.M. to 12 M.; 7 to 9 P.M. ! 

- • ' I 


..- ■ 

I Established 1870 Telephone, ttystic 0950 






Near Medford Square 

Norcross Teel Co. 





4 Mystic Avenue 


Phone, Mystic 2260 




| 137 Main Street - - Medford, Mass, 

♦ Opposite Mystic Avenue 



l Storage, Renting, Repairing, Supplies 

♦ Agency for 


Telephone Connection 

® **♦♦** *♦*»♦«- M^HH4#**W4«^« •♦♦♦♦♦♦♦#•♦4 ♦♦♦•»♦♦ »><r*H»*^*4-«r»-»»***^^*-«-i«^»»^K»*^^#4^*-»*' 


Medford Historical 

Vol. XXVI, 1923 



Medford, Mass. 





No. I. 

Rev. E. Stuart Best "» 

John Wesley's Bible \ 

Views of Med ford. M. W. M. . 

Story of a Bible. Editor. 

Remembrance Sarah J. Blanchard 

Six Medford Women 

A Sweet Story of Old 

To Continue .... 






No. 2. 

Mystic Hall ; Preceptress' Residence ) 

Mystic Hall Seminary Buildings ) 

Women of the Mayflower. Mrs. Mary Soule Googins 

Medford Statuary. M. W. M. .... 

Story of Two Pictures. Editor .... 

Jim Franklin — Ben's Big Brother. Rev. Anson Titus 

Comment and Contrast. Editor .... 


3 5 




No. 3. 

Medford High School, 1S42 ) 

Governors Avenue as it Was ) 

Medford's Bulky Red Nose. Editor and T. M. Stetson 

Governors Avenue as it Was. M. W. M. 

Treasures and a Man. P. W. A. 

Reference and Comment. Editor . . . . 




No. 4. 


Old Ships and Ship-Building Days . . . . 61 

Medford Journalism . . . . . . . 72 

Air Ships in Medford . . . . ... 84 

£&-&&£?£. ; 

*.i<:-;~t.M'i-----*ja\-*iir s :,-^.a,-.. -.j^a4^.t«iiWSK,:* 

Cover of Wesley's Bible. 


L\ I 


Key. E. Stuart Best. 

Methodist Pastor in Medford 


Now in his 99th year. 

The Medford Historical Register, 

Vol. XXVI. MARCH, 1923. No. 1. 


THE rapid increase of Medford 's population in the 
last two decades, with the many physical changes 
within its bounds, both of public and private enterprise, 
give rise to a query of comparison, — how did the old 
town look ? 

Indeed, this was asked in a local paper twenty years 
ago by its editor in hope of eliciting reply. He re- 
ceived but few. The older people, of course, could 
tell, in words, as they had seen it. In various issues of 
the Register their observations have been preserved for 
readers to construct for themselves into a satisfying 
vista. Still, such results are but word pictures, intangi- 
ble, and variable as might be the observer. 

Those possessing the ability to transfer to canvas or 
board, by brush or pencil, what they saw and told of are 
few' as search will disclose. 

Now, for old Medford vistas let us make^ search. 
Naturally, we turn first to the published histories, only 
to be disappointed, as the first is of 1855, and scantily 

The earliest attempt to portray any view or scene in 
Medford which has come to our knowledge was made 
(doubtless in 1835) when some one painted a view with 
the legend, " Junction of the River, Canal and Railroad 
in Medford, 1835." As one said of it in Marblehead, 
where we first saw it (1903), " It is evidently the work of 
a novice." 

It conveys the idea expressed but imperfectly, and 
the " novice " introduced features so manifestly incon- 


gruous as to cause its later owner to endorse on its back 
(in effect) that the fiyie houses were a fayicy of the artist. 

Crude as it is, and of no artistic merit, it, however, is 
the result of a worthy motive, the presentation of a new 
and important feature in scenic Medford. 

Who the " novice " was is unknown, but, in a way, he 
showed the high embankment stretching across the 
Mystic marshland, with engine and cars upon it, the 
bridges over the river and canal, in which latter a boat 
going westward drawn by horses, and in the distance the 
lock and tavern is seen. 

A surprisi?ig feature is in evidence : a balloon hover- 
ing over the whole and in the foreground (where is 
now the Parkway-Auburn street bridge) stand a man, 
woman and child viewing the scene. 

Possibly the Medford aeronaut Lauriat may have made 
an ascension and sailed over "about this time." Who 

So far as is known, no reproduction of this view has 
ever been made, though several attempts have failed. 

In 1839, Barber's "Historical Collection" was published, 
the author himself making the illustrating sketches in the 
various Massachusetts towns he visited and described. 

In the Register of September, 1920, may be seen his 
work in portraying Medford. This view is printed from 
the same " wood block" made and used in 1839. It is 
not without its inaccuracies, as was noticed in that and 
subsequent issues; still, to old residents the view was 

In 1839 the engraver on steel or wood had to be fur- 
nished a sketch or drawing of the scene to be portrayed, 
and not all artists were expert, as we have already shown. 
Some painted on canvas, some pencilled on paper — 
and some drew on their imagination — and sometimes 
the engraver added a little for effect. It is an interest- 
ing study to follow the various gradations, as seen in 
such illustrations, in points of time and process. 

In 1 85 1 Frederic Gleason began, in Boston, to publish 


his famous pictorial weekly. His illustrations were on 
a larger scale, engraved on w^ood, and though the inven- 
tion of Daguerre was in 1839, there is little evidence of 
its being employed in the " Pictorial!' 

The tornado of August 23, 185 1, is there depicted, 
the locality being the site of the West Medford post- 
office and opposite. How artists' views might differ can 
be seen in a view of the same place and occurrence in 
the Illustrated National Mirror. 

In 1855 came the publication of the History of Med- 
ford, by Rev. Charles Brooks, and in this are eight 
steel engravings. Medford had then the " Daguerreian 
Rooms " of O. R. Wilkinson, not as yet styled a photog- 
rapher. His work forms the basis of three of these. 

The first, we notice, shows five buildings on Main 
street (all there today), the second story of the left-hand 
one unchanged, save that the artist's sign is gone. 
Several people are at the store door, women and chil- 
dren are looking in the windows — Tinkham's now- — 
and a man is stooping over, as if in pain. 

Next is one with a big black sign over the door and a 
smaller one that looks like Drugs beside it. Iron bars 
hang from the windows, for storekeepers used " to put 
shutters up " at night. There is a different front now. 

Next, " F. H. Kidder" sold " Boots & Shoes," as two 
signs tell. A high wooden gate closes the space 
between this and the " Rail Road Station," the three- 
story building with the bell on the rear end of the roof- 

Then another of two stories, with door and window, 
and driveway through to the dock in the rear. This the 
writer recognizes as the coal office where he bought his 
first winter's coal of Luther Angier in 1870, with more 
pleasure, less money, and better results than present 
conditions give. 

" A. L. Rawson, del." was the delineator of this view 
from Wilkinson's daguerreotype, and " F. T. Stuart, sc." 
sculped {i.e. engraved) the steel plate from which it was 


The elder Thatcher Magoun's residence, now the 
Public Library (which has been noted in the Register) 
is shown, and the same process was followed in it, as 
also in view of Medford square, which, as it is Medford's 
civic center, deserves special mention. Its point of 
view is at the entrance of Salem street. As we look up 
High street today we see nothing that is in the picture 
save the three well-preserved Hall houses. It is a typi- 
cal New England village scene of the 5o's. 

The town-house is the dominant feature, its pillared 
portico elevated several steps above the sidewalk ; at the 
street corner is the tall granite post, then known as 
" Howe's folly," surmounted by an equally tall lamp- 
post. Signboards over the four side-doors show that 
stores were in the first story and more steps elevated. 

A passenger has alighted from the stage-coach, a rider 
on horseback is at the water-trough, but the town pump, 
if " in working order," leans towards the tall barber's pole 
between the lofty sycamores before the Dr. Tufts house. 

Two white canvas-topped wagons are in the square, 
and several groups of people, most of these, with all the 
horses, headed westward. Two boys and a dog are in 
the immediate foreground, a woman carrying a parasol 
is hastening away from where an animal of the porcine 
genus is having his transit disputed by a sizable dog. 

Medford had its skyscrapers then. A four-story one 
(where the Elks' building now is), and another almost as 
tall farther on ; still another of two stories, where is now 
the post-office, then the imposing edifice of the " Ortho- 
dox " parish, on the site of present store of Page & 

Other buildings were farther on, but are indistinct be- 
cause of the dense foliage of trees. This is the most 
comprehensive view we have. Its details are preserved 
in various photographs and printed views in the His- 
torical Society's collection. 

Another view in the Brooks history is notable, the 
residence of the younger Thatcher Magoun, as seen 


across the river from South street. This, also, is com- 
prehensive, showing the extensive grounds, with their 
pagodas, statuary and sinuous paths, the hedge bordering 
the creek (the latter still to be seen beside our modern 
parkway), the substantial fence and gateway, and some- 
thing of High street. 

Towering beyond the mansion is the storied steeple 
of the Unitarian church, while among the numerous 
trees can be seen the old Bigelow house, where is now 
the Tufts residence and Grace Church. The English 
cottage, later the Boynton house, can also be seen on 
the shaded hill slope. This view is also "delineator" 
Rawson's primary work; but the sculptor was J. W. 
Watts, a resident of West Medford, and noted for his 
excellent work in steel engraving. 

The views of the so-called Cradock house and the resi- 
dence of Gorham Brooks give us the oldest and most 
realistic portrayal ; the latter is made more so by the 
slave-wall in front and the distant view of the old wood- 
burner engine and cars on the railroad, then not very 
old. The Edward Brooks (Peter Chardon Brooks, 1802) 
residence is another. Of this fine estate scarce a ves- 
tige now remains, but the view is an excellent one. 

The view of Walnut-tree hill was also by Rawson and 
made from Broadway in Somerville. But two buildings, 
Ballou hall and Packard hall, crown its summit, and one 
dwelling at the end of Professors row, for the college 
had but just been instituted. Beyond are the hills and 
spires of Maiden, which then included Everett, and 
nearer, the winding Mystic with its broad marshes, and 
still nearer, Main street, with a little of the slope of 
Winter hill. 

Just where the station now stands is a railroad 
train, the cars very small as compared with the engine. 
The encircling avenue around the college buildings is 
well bordered with trees. Numerous cattle are grazing 
in the pasture, where is now Jackson College, the 
new " Chem. Lab." and the " Oval." In the foreground 


is a sylvan scene. Large trees border both sides of Two- 
penny brook as it courses through the entire plain and 
broadens into a pond in which are their shadows, and 
w r here a cow has waded in to drink. 

Thirty years later, in the reprint of the history, this 
view is again given, printed from the same steel plate. 
Of but one other we speak, the " Brooks Schoolhouse, 
1851," a wood engraving by Kilborn & Mallory, which 
must have been made from the architect's drawings. 

Whatever the schoolhouses of Medford were in years 
before, there was some architecture in this, made possible 
by the gifts of interested citizens of West Medford. 
This has been reproduced in the Register of July, 19 16, 
with its authentic story. An enlargement of it hangs 
in the principal's room in the present Brooks school 

In 1854 the Mystic Hall Seminary at West Medford 
was opened. This was a private boarding school for 
young ladies, Mrs. T. P. Smith, preceptress. After four 
years, she removed it to Washington, D. C. It was 
housed in three substantial buildings, two of which re- 
main today. Strange to say, no mention of it was made 
by either historian. From its year-book two views of 
the seminary buildings have been reproduced in the 
Register, Vol. XI, No. 3, and illustrate the story. 
of the famous school written (and read at a Society meet- 
ing) by one who attended and graduated from it. 

Two views of the little mill on the Arlington side of 

the river, whose " wooden dam old W d " was the 

cause of an incipient riot in 1870, the Register has 
presented. One is from a pencil drawing by Francis 
Wait, the other shows it at an earlier time. It was the 
" Tinkham Brothers' Tide-mill " of Trowbridge's famous 
story, the Wood's mill of actual fact. 

In the first Medford Journal of 1857 there was no 
attempt at pictorial illustration, nor yet in the great 
" blanket sheet " of Usher's Medford Journal of 1871, 

1923.] VIEWS OF MED FORD. 7 

that we can recall. No files were preserved by the pub- 
lisher and only a few stray copies are known. 

In 1S65 Mr. Nathan Brown of West Medford sketched 
a view of the river, looking up-stream from the railroad 
embankment, and painted in oil two copies. The cen- 
tral feature is the picturesque ruin of the second aque- 
duct of the Middlesex Canal, which, after thirteen years 
of disuse, still spanned the river and seven years later 
took on the superstructure of the first Boston avenue or 
" Canal bridge." One of these paintings is in the His- 
torical Society's collection, framed in wood from the 
aqueduct built in 1827, and shows the edges of Somer- 
ville and Medford, the ancient " Linefielde " of Charles- 
town, now Arlington, with the towering hills beyond. 
It is a valuable contribution to our historical knowledge. 
Photographed by E. B. Conant, it was reproduced in 
Vol. VII, No. 1, Register. It is one of eleven views 
in the same locality, covering a period of a hundred 
years, framed in the same old pine wood which had been 
buried in the salt mud for twenty-eight years. Two of 
these views were secured by the city engineer of Somer- 
ville, and are of historic value. We have them by inter- 
change of courtesy, and in the Somerville office are 
framed enlargements of three of them. 

During the thirty years that elapsed between the his- 
tory's publications, great improvements had been made 
in illustrative art by the lithograph and heliotype 
process. But one of the latter, Grace Church, is to be 
found in the Usher work. His illustrations are mainly 
wood cuts of varying styles and merit. But there are 
some, found perhaps nowhere else, — the Stearns man- 
sion, the railroad stations and the second Brooks school- 
house. The birthplace of John Brooks and his last 
residence when governor of Massachusetts are well 
shown, and some of these later views we do well to com- 
pare with the earlier for the facts they reveal. 

In 188 1 or '82 Mr. Henry Brooks secured photo- 
graphic views, numbering twenty-eight, in various parts 


of Medford, ten of which are of the western portion. 
These were reproduced by the heliotype process (in size 
about eight by ten inches) in two brochures with one 
page of historical notes as introduction. 

Medford square and High street is the first, but with 
exception of two persons (indistinctly seen) it is utterly 
devoid of life, human or animal. No car tracks, for this 
was before the advent of the " bob-tail car," no wires, 
no wagons. The circular water-trough and central 
hydrant is surmounted by a lamp-post, others are at the 
street corners, the foliage is thick on the trees, which 
are protected by strong wire guards. It is but one step 
into the colonnade of the town house ; the town clock is 
gone, though the dials remain on the church tower, the 
belfry is closed and the spire bears the cross .of St. 
Joseph's Church. This view is another way mark in 
local history. 

Two views from the reservoir, if placed together, take 
in the entire space between Rock-hill and Glenwood, the 
foreground being the Hillside section ; again, two from 
Pasture hill looking toward Maiden and Somerville, 
Salem street looking toward the square, and beautiful 
Forest street are shown ; next, the library, high school 
(now Center grammar), various church edifices and four 
views of Tufts College buildings including the reservoir, 
and also the " Old Fort," or so-called Cradock house. 
This last is especially worthy a special study. The 
western group begins with look at West Medford from 
the reservoir. Mystic lower lake is seen in the distant 
extreme left, the right taking in Auburn street. The 
locality that " novice " of 1835 tried to depict, with the 
high embankment of the railway, the river, the canal's 
course and the tavern are clearly seen, also the Colonial 
Chemical Works, erected only the year before, in the 
Somerville appendix. 

The few dwellings at the Hillside, which lies in the 
foreground, are a marked contrast to the Hillside of 
today. Away back on " Mystic Mount " is the Chapin 


house, from which Mr. Brooks took two wonderfully 
clear views. One looks back to the college, the other 
continues on westward to near Fairfield street. Some- 
thing of East Arlington and West Somerville is shown 
beyond the Mystic — whatever came within the eye of 
the camera. Mr. Brooks forbore taking the other beau- 
tiful view which would have included his own home on 
Grove street, now utterly gone. The Brooks and Hall 
school houses, both now gone, Trinity's first church, the 
new railway station, then nearly complete, and including 
the old; a view on High street, one of Boston avenue 
and another of the lower Mystic pond and dam complete 
this collection. 

How large an edition of this work of Mr. Brooks, cer- 
tainly the finest comprehensive view of Medford in 
detail ever published, was issued we cannot say, nor yet 
by what means or at whose expense. It may have been 
privately for his own distribution. The writer has one of 
those inscribed "West Medford," given him some twelve 
years ago by one of Mr. Brooks' acquaintances, but was 
unaware of the existence of the " Medford " set until the 
recent acquisition of both by the Historical Society. 
Perhaps in the homes of some old Medford families a 
few copies may be found, laid away and long forgotten. 
These views are a most valuable addition to our knowl- 
edge and are indisputable evidence as to the appear- 
ance of Medford forty years ago; and these were in 
print four years before the publication of the Usher his- 
tory, still his illustrations were mainly wood cuts. 

At that time the subject of a new town hall was being 
agitated and a little later that of the division of the 
town. Two weekly papers were being published in 
town, indeed there had been for ten years, for just a year 
after Usher's venture with the Journal, A. B. Morss 
began the Chronicle in 1872. After three years of ex- 
istence the Journal vanished, leaving the field alone to 
the Chronicle. 

Neither of these papers ever used any illustrations 


which we can recall; they bear no evidence, as neither 
publisher preserved any file. Only a few stray copies 
show what the papers were and give visible evidence 
that such existed. 

In 18S0 the Mercury began its long career, and two 
years later acquired the Chronicle's interest by purchase. 
During the agitation of the town hall proposition, its 
editor visited Marblehead at request and inspected the 
municipal building, "Abbot Hall," which had been but 
recently erected at a cost of $70,000, wrote an elabo- 
rately detailed description of it, and by courtesy of the 
Marblehead Messenger presented an excellent view of 
that structure, heading its two-column article. This 
appeared on March 28, 1884, and is (doubtless) the first 
illustration to appear in the Medford press, and this 
because, in the opinion of leading citizens, its like would 
suitably "fill the bill " in Medford. They certainly had 
lofty aspirations, as Abbot Hall was surmounted by a 
tower one hundred and seventy-five feet high. By 
action of the town which followed, its committee secured 
a tentative plan for a new structure, but with a less 
lofty tower, a framed portrayal of which hung in the 
municipal office of the old city hall until the destruction 
of the latter, and later in the hired quarters, where 
recent search fails to reveal it. As it belongs to the 
city, and especially as all the lofty effort has as yet only 
resulted in the lowly-sunken expenditure of over $100,000, 
it, with another tangible model, should not be consigned 
to the " limbo of lost things." 

In 1880 there came into Medford a man who walked 
through the various streets making measurements, tak- 
ing notes and securing views, and then ascended the 
hills in various sections. The result of his work is 
the bird's eye view of Medford, thirteen by twenty-five 
inches in size, which he delivered to subscribers for 
one dollar per copy. How successful as a business en- 
terprise this effort was we know not; or how large an 
edition or sale it had we cannot say. Of that of West 

1923.] VIEWS OF MED FORD. 11 

Medford (in 1892) we have only seen our own copy, and 
of Medford only one, that in the Historical rooms, until 
recently, when a package of them came to the Society. 

Being bird's eye views, the artist's points of vision must 
have been in the air over Oak Grove cemetery and 
Winter hill. Of its artistic merits we can say little, but 
for its comprehensive outlook they convey a fair idea of 
the extent and lay-out of the two sections of the city. 
Doubtless they could be improved upon, for we notice 
that these are not photographic views, as were those of 
Mr. Brooks, but the reproduction of drawings made after 
a walk through all the streets. These bear the imprint, 
"O. B. Bailey & Co., Lith. & Pub., Boston". 

Now that instantaneous photography and the aero- 
plane have come, it is possible to secure views of Med- 
ford, necessarily up to date, but to answer the query 
" How did the old town look ? " we must consult such as 
we have herein named and such others as may from 
time to time be found. 

We ought not to close this review, covering nearly a 
century of time, without mentioning the excellent work 
of the Medford Publishing Company in " Medford Past 
and Present" (1905), illustrations to be found in years 
since 1884 in the Mercury, in the Leader, the various 
other (some short-lived) papers, the "275th Anniversary 
Proceedings " and the Historical Society's collection. 

Lastly (and modestly, we trust), we refer to the illus- 
trations in the Register during its twenty-five years of 
publication. It was fortunate that a Medford boy, who 
told us of old Ship street, had the gift and ability to 
also present the view of it, reproduced in Vol. IV, No. 4. 
Those who saw him build the ship at the Society's 
November meeting and watched (as he drew the picture) 
Deacon Galen James coming up the street in his old- 
time sleigh loaded with children and with children hang- 
ing on behind realize something of Mr. Woolley's peculiar 
aptness for such work. 

To the sketching artist with pencil or brush we are 

12 STORY OF A BIBLE. [March, 

indebted for portrayal of views prior to 1S50, to the pho- 
tographer with his cumbrous camera, with difficulty 
transported, for those of the next fifty years; and all 
these required the aid of a middleman, the engraver 
{sculptor) before the printer could exercise his u art- 

For the past twenty years, with the popularization of 
the camera, the snapshot of the amateur might secure 
invaluable evidence and be quickly reproduced in the 
daily paper. 

Effort should be made for the preservation of such as 
are worthy, for the libraries, the schools, and wherever 
information is disseminated, remembering that the 
present day is of the past tomorrow, and ancient history 
later on. 

We are aware that some of the views alluded to in 
this article are very rare, especially those of the Brooks 
history, and wish that every reader of this might examine 
them at the Public Library, as also the later ones of 
Usher. Without doing so, we fear such will, like some 
early artists, "draw on their imagination" to know how 
the old town looked. 


We are presenting in this issue the portrait of a man 
who was (if not a citizen) a resident of Medford for well 
toward seven decades ago, and who is still living in our 
neighboring city of Maiden. 

Rev, Edward Stuart Best, Methodist Episcopal 
clergyman, began his ministry in 1851, serving one year 
each in three western Massachusetts towns, and one in 
the nearer town of Swampscott. At the annual confer- 
ence of his church, April, 1855, his appointment was to 
Medford. Prior to that time, one year's service in a 
place was the rule of his church. But a change in 
polity had occurred and he served the Medford church 
and people to the new time limit of two years. His 

1923.] STORY OF A BIBLE. 13 

active service in the Christian ministry was an even fifty 
years, to twenty-three churches. As the " time limit" 
was extended to three and again to five years, we find 
his terms three and four years, one a return to a former 
charge, and his last a four-year one. This certainly 
proves his ability and effectiveness. At the conference 
of 190 1 he took a retired relation, making his home 
among his latest parishioners of the Linden church of 

He is now the oldest member of the New England 
Conference and was present and participated in the 
exercises of laying the corner-stone when the Medford 
church he served fifty years before erected their fourth 
house of worship in 1905. During his second year at 
Medford, after some improvements in the second house, 
efforts were made to procure an organ. The indefati- 
gable Ladies' Aid Society sponsored the enterprise (see 
Register, Vol. XII, p. 91) by holding a " Fair and 
Levee" in Town Hall December 30, 1856, and secured 
an excellent pipe organ that served till the larger new 
building was erected in 1873. But one °f the witty 
speakers at the " Levee" still insisted that the Best 
organ was at the other end of the meeting house. 

When, during the Civil war,. Mr. Best was stationed 
at Milford, Mass., an incident occurred which must have 
been a happy surprise to him: While making a call on 
one of his aged parishioners, the good lady asked of the 
country of his birth, and he replied, " Yes, I am — or was 
— an Irishman, born in 1824 in Newry, near Belfast. 
Four of us became ministers, three Methodists, one of the 
Church of Engand." Then he added that he was now 
" an American of the Americans," and happy in his work. 
Then she said, " God bless thee, I have something for 
thee," and placed in his hands a little book she had long 
highly prized, and told its story. It was a Bible once 
owned and used by Reverend John Wesley, the founder 
of the Methodist Church. During his first visit to Ire- 
land a young man there became interested in personal 
religion and later himself preached the gospel. 

14 STORY OF A BIBLE. [March, 

While on another visit to Ireland, Wesley married the 
young man to " the fine young woman to whom he was 
engaged " and gave them his own copy of the Sacred 
Book, writing a presentation clause above his own name, 
already written on the fly-leaf. Through all their lives 
those young people prized their wedding gift and after 
the widow's death it passed on to her two nieces. 

Then the question came up, which should be its 
possessor? After consideration, one said, " Give me that 
leaf with Wesley's autograph and you can have the 
Bible," and it was so decided. 

The young woman that had the Bible married a 
Methodist man and with him came to America, finding a 
home in Milford. Years had rolled away, and in 1857, 
she, then advanced in years, still had John W r esley's 
Bible, but what became of the detached leaf and auto- 
graph writing no one could tell. 

The good old lady did well when she gave that book 
to her pastor in whose face and voice she recognized a 
countryman. During fifty-eight years he carefully 
guarded it, using it from time to time, telling of its 
story, pondering in his own mind of its disposition and 
at last found a solution of his problem. After his re- 
tirement he attended the public worship at Maiden center 
church, where Rev. Lauress J. Birney was pastor, and 
to whom the presence of " Father Best " was always 
helpful. While Dr. Birney was Dean of the School 
of Theology, Boston University, he was in 1920 elected 
to the Episcopacy. Before departing to his distant 
field of work (Shanghai, China) he called to pay his 
respects to the venerable brother in the ministry. While 
there "Father" Best placed in his hands the old time- 
worn copy of the Holy Book he had cherished for nearly 
sixty years. 

Can we imagine the bishop's feelings on receiving 
such a token? Probably much the same as the giver's 
long years before, when he received it and heard its 
story. John Wesley is credited with the saying, " The 

1923.] REMEMBRANCES. 15 

world is my parish," but John Wesley never dreamed 
that after one hundred and fifty years in far-away China, 
young Chinese Christians would place their hands on 
the identical Book he once used and receive ordination 
to the Christian ministry, when a bishop of the church 
he founded holding it out to them, says, u Take thou 
authority to preach the Scriptures." 

It has been the writer's privilege to meet at various 
times and places the good man who labored in Medford 
so long ago. We have no doubt he did his duty here as 
a citizen or resident during those two years, and sin- 
cerely hope he rounds out his century, a grand old man. 

For the facts we have related we are indebted to the 
author of " Story of John Wesley's Bible," and for our 
illustration to courtesy of Zion's Herald, in which both 
story and illustrations appeared. 

By Sarah J. Blanchard. 

[September, 1905]. 

My mind goes back to childhood's days. I remem- 
ber that during the occupancy of the Gillard fish market 
in the rear of the Tufts house, Mr. Aaron Blanchard 
rented the front room ; and the reading room was 
under his care until his death, which occurred there, 
December 23, 1850. On that morning he left his 
home at 6 o'clock as usual, and the great effort required 
to get through the old-time fall of rain-full snow, caused 
the bursting of a blood vessel in the head. He was 
found near the stove, unlighted match in hand. . . . 

A few personal recollections of Mr. Blanchard may 
be interesting to the older residents of the city. Who 
ever rang the bell and set it equal to himself? A glance 
at a sun-dial on the window seat, then a moment's trip 
to the church across the way (now occupied by Page & 
Curtin's hardware store), and watches and clocks were 
regulated by the first stroke of that noon bell; the 


workman's axe, if uplifted, fell by its own weight, and in 
less time than is required to state the fact, scores of men 
from the shipyards were on their way home to dinner, 
and all was quiet for an hour. . . . 

Mr. Blanchard occupied for several years previous to 
1850, as a tailor's shop, the front part of the building on 
the easterly corner of what was known as Pasture Hill 
lane, opposite the Savings Bank building, with a work- 
room adjoining (Mr. William Wyman, the provision 
dealer, living in the rear). I think, from hearsay, his 
most prosperous days in business were spent there. At 
that time he had numerous apprentices, several of whom 
married townspeople and became honored wives and 
mothers. Finally he was able to retain only his oldest 
patrons, who cared little for advanced methods, and 
styles in tailoring, and his trade was transferred to Mr. 
Hervey and others. . . . 

There was a tinge of romance about his marriage. A 
foster-sister of Mrs. Lvdia Maria Child, who lived in the 
house corner of AsMand and Salem streets, applied to 
him to be taught tfoe trade. He told her he did not 
care for more apprentices, but if she would promise, 
when through, not to set up business in Medford, he 
would take her. Ins year they were married, he being 
twenty-eight years old and his wife eighteen. She was 
a direct descendant ®f Peter Tufts. ... I will say 
in passing that in tie Salem street burying ground, a 
rod or two from the monument in a southeasterly direc- 
tion lies the body of George Blanchard, who died in 1 700, 
aged eighty-one or e%hty-four. He inherited from his 
father, Thomas,* the English emigrant, two hundred 
acres of land now kjiiown as Wellington. The present 

*Thomas Blanchard, the emigrant, carne from England in 1639, and lived 
in Braintree, Mass. In February, 1651, he bought of Rev. John Wilson, 
Jr., pastor of the church in Dorchester, house and a farm of two hundred 
acres, known now as Wellington, but then belonging to Charlestown. In 
1726 it was annexed to Maiden and afterwards to Medford. Mr. Blanchard 
died at Wellington in 1654. 

The above is not in the b'htory of Medford, but is from the completed 
records of this branch of the Blanchard family. 


1923.] REMEMBRANCES. 17 

family is the seventh generation directly from him, and 
his descendants are scattered throughout the' 1 states." . . 

The name originally was Blan-card, from a French 
colony of weavers in France, "blanc " meaning white, 
and "card," weavers, who made fine linen. . . . Mr. 
Aaron Blanchard was sexton of the " Orthodox church " 
from soon after his marriage until his death. His 
method of church ventilation has never been improved — 
nor followed to any great extent. His plan was to open 
windows and doors before and after every meeting, and 
during service in warm weather; if the wind was east, 
the windows on the east side were closed, those on the 
west side open at the top, and vice versa, he claiming 
that air was needed, but not wind, so no one suffered 
from draughts. . . . Notices were taken to the min- 
ister by the sexton, generally while the choir was sing- 
ing, and we juveniles would watch his head bobbing up 
and down the aisle, and his quick, springing step; for 
never a sound did his feet make, no heavy, squeaking 
boots — they were exchanged for soft shoes or pumps 
during service. People then had more reverence than 
to enter meeting during prayer time. 

I have often wondered what became of the small brass 
stand with a glass top, under which in his handwriting, 
resembling copper plate, was " If the minister wishes 
anything, place this on the front of the pulpit and the 
sexton will come up." . . . 

The method of heating the meeting house was by a 
large box stove, enclosed in brick, its doors almost ex- 
actly like the brick oven doors of long-ago kitchens (a 
small sliding door for draft). Wood only was burned; 
long sticks of hard wood, sawed once, made a glorious 
fire. Sometimes in the coldest nights Mr. Blanchard 
would stay all Saturday night; but generally a well-filled 
stove, after 9 o'clock bell ringing, Saturday night, and 
draft closed, would insure a huge bed of live coals Sun- 
day morning; and I have known him to broil over them 
a delicious beef steak and take home for the 6 o'clock 


Sunday morning breakfast, the odor while cooking pass- 
ing up the big chimney and no one was the wiser. , . 
I should have mentioned that the abundance of hot 
coals served the admirable purpose of filling a dozen 
foot stoves which he distributed in the pews where most 
needed. . . . The choir met in the vestry every 
Saturday evening. I remember one night in particular, 
after ascertaining there was no fire, several persons 
began to feel chilly and suggested that " next time a fire 
had better be made just to take off the chill." The sex- 
ton looked at the thermometer (it was his infallible 
guide) and replied, " Yes ; it shall be comfortable the 
next evening." The following rehearsal night, the choir 
looking towards the stove, saw a blaze, and evidences of 
a good fire, and were charmingly comfortable, and sang 
all the better for it, probably. During the after-chat, 
they were asked if the room had been satisfactorily 
warmed. "Oh yes ; just right for comfort." Mr. Blanchard 
induced them to open the stove and see how little was 
required to heat that large vestry ; and lo, and behold ! 
all that was necessary for that evening at least, was a 
piece of red flannel and a small lamp, seen through the 
open draft door. Imagine a momentary pause and the 
laughter which followed ! . . . 

Mr. Blanchard was fond of surprises; sometimes after 
rehearsals he would ask the choir to step into the small 
vestry to look at something, and there would be a table 
spread with apples, nuts and raisins, or melons in the 
season for them, and also the never-failing bouquet, if 
possible to obtain one. He was a passionate lover of 
flowers. How he would have revelled in these days, 
when it is not considered wicked or vain to have flowers 
in church. Then, a bit of southernwood or pennyroyal 
in the hand was allowable only, to carry to meeting. I 
suspect they were to be nibbled to keep one awake dur- 
ing the "eighthly's and ninthly's and conclusions" of 
the long sermons. I used to think the minister told a 
lie, because he said, " One word more and I have done "; 

1923.] REMEMBRANCES. 19 

but instead of the " Amen " I expected, he would preach 
on and on, until I lost all faith in his veracity; still, I 
remember today parts of those same sermons to my ad- 
vantage, though I must have been under twelve years 
old at the time. . . . 

I am writing with the gold pen given to Mr. Blanchard 
by pupils of the high school for his willingness to write 
their names in school books in German text and on 
writing-book covers with the spread eagle and scroll 
flourishes they delighted in. . . . 

Among the school teachers who are held in loving re- 
membrance today was Miss Ann Foster (afterward Mrs. 
Thomas Pratt). She was a real kindergarten mother, 
and fostered a brood of infants in the meeting-house 
vestry. A high, broad shelf ran across the west side of 
the room, where the tired youngsters had refreshing 
naps. A flight of low steps filled one end of the vestry, 
which we little folks ascended after marching around the 
room on nails driven into the floor for that purpose, and 
then had a fine time, singing, 

This is the way we wash our clothes, 
This is the way we iron our clothes, 
This is the way the shoemaker sews, 
etc., etc. 

suiting our actions to the words as nearly as possible. 
How time bridges over the passing years ! I, at four 
years, seemed an infant to the big girls, and they like 
women to me, and yet today they are my associates and 
friends, with no disparity of ages. I remember later on 
how pleased I was to have Miss Foster tell me to take 
my first finished bit of sewing and show it to the older 
pupils and hear them say it was done very neatly. . . . 
Dr. Samuel Gregg then lived in the brick block, corner 
Salem street and Riverside avenue, over what is now Mr. 
Bartlett's store. Then Mr. Gilbert Blanchard kept a 
small grocery store there. Two of Dr. Gregg's daughters 
attended Miss Foster's school. ... In unpleasant 
weather the doctor would come for them and take all 
the children to their homes. One snowv afternoon he 


came with his big sleigh, loaded it full of children, turned 
round slowly and tipped us all out, and down the hill 
we rolled; he, laughing, called out to get in quickly if 
we wanted a ride. . . . 

Mr. Aaron Magoun taught in the brick school house 
near the Cross street burying ground. Pupils were ad- 
mitted when eight years of age, but I know of two who 
were permitted to enter a year younger. He was a dear, 
good man, thoroughly acquainted with his pupils, visit- 
ing them often in their homes. He died May 21, 1899, 
in the ninety-first year of his age. I called to see him 
about a year before his death, and was surprised to note 
so few indications of old age, he coming downstairs 
without assistance. His bright eyes sparkled with mer- 
riment as we talked over the scenes of those early school 

His punishments for mischievous boys and girls were 
unique — two fun-loving girls, standing on the plat- 
form, each with one end of a ruler in her mouth (to 
punish the ruler for slapping?) or a restless boy made 
to sit on the small cylinder stove for awhile, that was 
never taken down until worn out; or a small girl re- 
quired to sit on the teacher's knee and given candy to 
eat, that the child did not then love or desire in the 
least; or a miss to go over and sit beside a lad, of her 
master's choosing, not hers. I recall the time when the 
teacher asked one of the scholars if he had nothing to 
do. " No, sir." Soon a sheet of paper was cut into tiny 
squares, strewn over the floor under the teacher's desk, 
and — well, that pupil never again complained of having 
nothing to do. 

Hanging in the Historical Society's hall is a photo- 
graph which at once attracts attention. It is a group of 
six women, once well known in Medford, but who have 
now all passed on. The question has often been asked, 
" Who were they? " and we have heard the reply, " Six 


sisters," but that was incorrect. On p. 80, Vol. VIII, 
Register, may be found the names of four of them, in a 
list of thirty-six natives of Medford who were living at 
the. time of the anniversary celebration of 1905, and who 
had then attained the age of seventy-five years. The 
names of the six were written (upon protecting paper 
pasted upon the back of the frame), by its donor, the late 
George W. Stetson, April, 1910; who added, " Taken in 
March, 1S71." They are (left to right): 

[Miss] Sarah J. Blanchard, b. Jan. 13, 1S29. 

[Miss] Emeline A. Sparrell, b. Feb. 7, 1S30. 

Mrs. Lucy B. Conery, nee Butters, b. Feb. 2, 1S29. 

Mrs. John F. Sanborn, b. Dec. 1S30. 

Miss Ellen A. Jaquith, b. Aug. 3, 1829. 

Mrs. Mary Peaslee, nee Butters, b. Dec. 14, 1S32. 

Note. — Of the above, the first three and fifth are the four above alluded to. 

Examination of the picture revealed the fact that 
brown paper backing was deteriorating; therefore the 
above copy is made and hereby transferred to the Regis- 
ter's page. On p. 24, Vol. XIV, mention was made 
of the passing away of the first and eldest of the six, who 
were so nearly of an age. Inquiry fails to show that 
they were related to each other (except as stated), or that 
they were officers of some society, but just a group of 
friends and acquaintances. It is thought that each had 
a copy, and that after their going, only the nephew of 
Miss Blanchard had the thoughtfulness to provide for 
the preservation of hers, and to furnish the authentic 
data above given. 

As a matter of interest, we add that in June, 1885, the 
first dry-goods store in West Medford was opened on 
Harvard Avenue, and Miss Blanchard was in charge of 
it from the first and for several years. The " Bee-Hive " 
was a lively competitor of a larger one next door, which 
managed to continue in business only by taking in other 
lines. At the anniversary time, Miss Blanchard contrib- 
uted to the local press some reminiscences of the old 
sexton (her father) and others, which are reproduced in 
this issue. 

22 [March, 


The Historical Society is now in possession of a 
highly interesting collection of papers written in the 
years just preceding the Revolution, one of which sug- 
gests the caption of this article, and is here reproduced : — 

Invoice of 2 barr Is Loaf Sugar shipped by Francis Minot on his 
own account 8c resque on board the Brig Neptune Peter Gvvin 
master bound for Affrica & goes consign'd said Gwin for Sales & 
return viz — 

F M N° 1 cont'g 14 Loaves w* 139 J lb 
2 14 D° 135 

~2~74£ @ £6/6 Old Tenor is 

£ 11. 17. 10 
2 barr ls for D° 2. 2 


Boston 23 d Sept r 1765. 
Capt* Peter Gwin 


I have ship'd the above Sugar with leave 
from Mr. Fitch & beg You'l dispose of it to my best advantage on 
Your arrival on the coast of Affrica & if it's sufficiant purchase 
me a Boy Slave. If you go to the West Indies please to lay out 
the neat proceeds in good Produce which leave to Your Iudgment 
what may best answer the great end of Getting Money. I wish 
You Health & Prosperity being sincerely 

Your Friend & H'ble Serv* 

Fra s Minot 
P.S. As Loaf Sugar always sells better to Windward than to 
Leeward, should be glad You would sell mine as You go 
down the Coast — the barrells may be easily come at be- 
tween Decks. 

The Medford historian (Brooks) said (on p. 436) "The 
gentlemen of Medford have always disclaimed any par- 
ticipation in the slave trade," and, evidently doubtful of 
the same, makes a half-page quotation from a letter of 
instruction to a slaver's captain on January 14, 1759. 
That identical letter is the first of the twenty-two above 
mentioned and which cover a period of ten years. Steel 
pens, copying presses and typewriters were no part of 

1923.] A SWEET STORY OF OLD. 23 

office furniture of those days, and the water marks in the 
durable unruled paper showing the royal crown, with 
G. R. beneath, are suggestive of the " Stamp Act." 

The peculiar product of Medford formed the principal 
part of the cargo and was the medium of exchange on 
the African coast. The voyages were usually triangular, 
the second lap being to the West Indies or southern 
ports, then homeward with the results in southern 
produce or cash, and with the few unsold slaves. The 
vessel's return was watched for with much concern by 
the merchant owner, and, we doubt not, by his clerk, 
who was an adventurer in a small way — twelve pounds 
worth of sugar. This is not a children's story (or song) 
but a young man's business adventure. We have no 
means of telling of its result. Clerk Minot was an ex- 
pert penman, somewhat liberal in use of flourishes and 
in the merchant's employ for several years for the " great 
end of getting money"" as emphasized by his use of capi- 
tals in his letter to Captain Gwin. 

The merchant had several vessels in the African 
trade, and for the last twelve (or more) years of his life 
was a property owner and resident in Medford, passing 
away in 1790. Historian Brooks, writing about midway 
between the time of these papers and the present day, 

How will the above read in the capital of Liberia two hundred 
years hence ? 

How does it read in Medford (where rum was made) 

But the Nantucket-Boston-Medford men were not 
" sinners above all men." There were others, as a recent 
publication, A Rhode Island Slaver (Shepley Library, 
Providence, 1922), clearly proves by reproducing the 
Trade book of the Sloop Adventure, 1773-4. Of Captain 
Peter Gwin, his various commands, voyages and doings, 
the letters and instructions of his " assured friend and 
owner " give much information, and are a side light on 
a business once considered legitimate. 

24 [March, 1923.] 


Lack of space in our last issue precluded our saying 
all we desired regarding the Register. At the urgent 
request of the Society we begin a new volume, and with 
this number complete fifteen years of editorial service, 
which we must ere long turn over, we trust to younger 
and abler hands. 

We wish to quote an appreciation which came to us 
in 191 1 from the librarian of a great university: — 

The publication issued by your Historical Society is a credit to 
its activities. 

You deserve much commendation for your successful efforts to 
preserve the records of the past in your immediate neighborhood. 
I only wish that more such agencies existed for the purpose. 

It has been our effort to maintain the reputation thus 
gained. The above, with a partial list of eighteen promi- 
nent Register articles, was then given on the cover 
page. Nine of the authors have passed away, but their 
work abides. The same may be said of others not 
therein named, whose work tells facts of Medford his- 
tory found nowhere else. 

We regret that no articles have recently appeared in 
memory of valued members and benefactors of our 
Society, whose presence and effort we greatly miss. 
Effort for such has been made by the President and 
editor, only to meet with disappointment more than we 
can express. 

It is said that a former clergyman of Medford always 
in his public prayers expressed this desire : " Grant, 
Father, that the world may be wiser and better for our 

With the same desire for the people of our home city 
we issue this publication. 


.Srljoorfor JJojmg Vatitrs, at |ttnstif *)all. SSUst'^lcbfori. glass. 


- * 



The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXVI. JUNE, 1923. No. 2. 



By Mary Soule Googins. 

[Read before the Medford Historical Society, December 19, 1921.] 

THREE hundred years ago there came to these shores 
a Band of Pilgrims. We call them "Pilgrim Fathers " 
but there were Pilgrim Mothers and Daughters as well. 
No other colonies up to this time had ever brought 
women with them. The Pilgrims were bound to suc- 
ceed, therefore — they brought the zvomen with them. 

They founded homes, homes in the wilderness, homes 
by the rolling sea, homes hedged in by dark forests, 
rough and lonely, but they were dear homes. 

The precursors of thirty million American homes. 
These are the gifts of the Pilgrim Mothers and Fathers 
of three hundred years ago. 

The women of the Mayflower — let us look at them 
now, since all who can ever be called by that name are 
together on the ship. Mrs. Stephen Hopkins wins re- 
gard from all. Her own little daughter Damaris and her 
step-daughter Constantia add to the girlhood on the 
boat. Mary Brewster and Susanna White set a shining 
mark. Mrs. John Carver, her maid and her young ward, 
Desire Minter — Mrs. Miles Standish and Mrs. Edward 
Winslow and Katherine Carver have won the love and 
admiration of all. Mrs. Christopher Martin, who was 
scarcely known, as she was among the passengers from 
London. Two pairs of mothers and daughters — Mrs. 
Mary Chilton and Mrs. Mullins and Priscilla — engage 
our attention, as Cupid's entanglements are in this seri- 
ous adventure (Mary has lost an admirer and Priscilla 

26 WOMEN OF THE ' 'MA YFLO H ER: ' [June, 

gaified one). Here is a group whom we know far less 
well — Mrs. Thomas Tinker and Mrs. John Rizdale, Mrs. 
Francis Eaton — but we feel sure their quality of mind 
and heart must be the equal of many of their com- 
panions. Here are the wives of John and Edward 
Tilly, each with a young girl to mother. Humility 
Cooper is cousin to Ann Tilly, and Elizabeth is step- 
child to John Tilly's wife. Mrs. Edward Fuller and 
Anna White are those sailing for another haven, though 
knowing it not. 

From London has come Mrs. John Billington, quite 
different in style and manner from her companions, yet 
not lacking in good qualities, and little Ellen More in 
Mrs. Winslow's care. Mrs. William Bradford (standing 
in the shadow of tragedy), and Mrs. Isaac Allerton with 
her two little girls, Remember and Mary, complete the 
count. Mary Allerton's namesake daughter stands near- 
est to us of all that company between that day and this. 
The courage and fortitude and endurance of that band 
of women can never be described. 

To this tossing ship, on a very stormy day, there 
comes a stranger, promptly called Oceanus, and the 
Hopkins family becomes of great interest, with its new 
baby for the women and children to delight in. 

One who kept a record of those days wrote: "At 
anchor in Cape Cod Harbor. This day Mistress Dorothy 
Bradford, wife of Master Bradford, fell overboard and 
was drowned." 

At last, in a November dawn, land is in sight. With 
the episode following, the women had no actual part, but 
with some it was of great interest, as their husbands 
signed the document drawn up in the cabin, and because 
of it Katherine Carver was made first lady, as her hus- 
band was elected Governor of this Colonial company. 
The next day new life and animation was among all on 
board the Mayflower. Hope flung aside the gray veil 
that had almost enveloped her for many weeks and stood 
in the radiant garments of expectancy. 

1923.] WOMEN OF THE ' 'MA YFLOWER: ' 27 

A little pool surrounded by juniper trees attracted the 
eyes of the women, and on that foggy morning of the 
23d of November witnessed them going ashore in a 
small boat with bundles and kettles, the first time they 
had set foot on the soil of their new country, — and 
Monday wash-day was established. 

One more storm and struggle for the Mayflower — 
one more disappointing return to the harbor which she 
desired to leave, then a calm day's sail into a quiet 
harbor, for they had touched a rock, for them a stepping- 
stone, — they saw it not as a gateway of a mighty nation. 
Her work nobly performed, her name immortal, she had 
reached the goal. 

The women had more to do, however, than look 
towards the shore and long for land, for their life en 
ship was not an idle one for any of them, while strength 
lasted. As one by one illness attacked them, those re- 
maining well had added cares, assisting Dr. Fuller, 
attending to the wants of the families of those whose 
mothers were ill, preparing food for the sick and for the 
men who went daily ashore to work, keeping the chil- 
dren safe and amused, and, above all, keeping their own 
faith and hope alive; and it went on as unending as the 
swell of the sea beneath them. 

But the time came for going ashore with costumes so 
similar it is hard to distinguish where each woman is 
placed. The children are held from crowding forward 
as they near the shcre. An instant of excitement! The 
sailors make ready to fasten the boat! It touches the 
rock ! The woman who stood foremost on the way over 
has sprung from the boat, catching at the hand of the 
nearest man to steady her on the slippery rock. The 
keen wind and spray have dashed color to her cheeks, 
the brilliancy of the sun on the snow is reflected in her 
eyes. A flashing triumph at being the first! — it is Mary 
Chilton ! I like to think of her as Dr. Gordon expressed 
it, "a real sport," not perhaps like the sports of today, but 
a strong humorous girl, full of real happiness. In after 


years she came to Boston to live and was a member of 
the Old South Church. In her will she left the Church 
five English pounds. (It was " the widow's mite,' 1 as she 
was then " Widow Winslow "). In three hundred years 
that has amounted to $500,000. No wonder Old South 
is the richest church in Boston ! 

In less than a week after the first women went ashore, 
Rose Standish passed to a land of sunshine and flow- 
ers. Others soon followed, Ann Tilly, Mrs. Martin, 
little Ellen More and Mary Chilton's mother. Another 
month, and Mary Allerton, John Tilly's wife, Sarah 
Eaton and Mrs. Edward Fuller were numbered with them, 
and soon Elizabeth Winslow and Katharine Carver 
slipped away. Their monument is the hill by the sea- 
shore on which their graves were made, and their re- 
membrance shall last as long as Mayflowers blossom. 
It is indeed remarkable that even twelve women and 
children remained. Humility Cooper and Elizabeth 
Tilly, Priscilla Mullins and Mary Chilton were indeed 
truly alone. 

On the five women the care and responsibility fell 
heaviest, though the girls and children had their share 
in the division of labor. Each served when there was 
nursing to be done. Cooking was not only a duty but 
a serious problem in finding something to tempt failing 
appetites, the women often going hungry that others 
might have more. Gradually came a lessening of the 
strain of known evils. 

The problem of the Indians had been solved on the 
day that they heard the word " Welcome " from an un- 
known voice; and their visits from these strange people 
became frequent and helpful as well. The day of making 
another covenant was one marked by color and anima- 
tion in the doleful life of those early months for the 
women with, just strength enough for interest. They 
met and entertained the sovereign of the savages to the 
lively music of drum and trumpet. The green rug on 
which they sat in one of the unfinished houses must 


have always brought back that scene to the woman who 
owned it, — that lasting treaty of mutual friendship and 

It was an April day after the planting that an episode 
occurred which brings before us for the first time a 
woman not distinct hitherto in this picture. The Indian 
squaws occasionally came to Plymouth, and were a help 
or a bother, according to their personality. Hobomok 
was the Colony's trusty interpreter, and this afternoon 
his squaw was teaching a company of mothers the art 
of moccasin making when Hobomok appeared and took 
her away, saying the Government wanted her to work, 
and she proved a valuable spy. 

As spring came the children found arbutus and early 
flowers. Remember and Mary Allerton and Damaris 
Hopkins played on the beach with Constance, Elizabeth 
and Humility, and gathered the bright shells in the warm 
sunshine, until the pink of the shells and arbutus were 
reflected in their cheeks. 

And with the April mildness on land and sea came 
the last night when the lights of the Mayflower shone to 
them out of the darkness. Each one has been asked a 
question, and been given time to consider well: "Shall 
we — shall I — go back ? " Each woman for herself has 
answered " No." The venture made in faith should not 
have been made in vain, — the standard formed of high 
hope and courage should not go dowm while they were 
able in the light of faith to carry it forward. 

The September days were busy ones. The spring 
planting had been successful and their harvest of corn 
abundant The wild grapes had been made into wine, 
corn pounded into meal, each household a hive of work- 
ers. The wear and tear on their clothes was repaired 
and new garments made. But an interval occurred in 
their routine; it is a picture of the living room in the 
Brewster house by candle light, which contains all of 
the women of the colony in earnest discussion. The 
Governor has suggested that, in view of the fact of their 


successful harvest and renewed health, a period of recrea- 
tion should be planned and engaged in by all. Not 
only preparations for themselves but for guests. Chief 
Massasoit and many of his warriors were to be invited, 
with no doubt at all of their acceptance. 

It was not a question of what to provide but how much 
of everything, for more than one hundred were to be 
provided for over a three days' period, and only eleven 
women and young girls to do it. Who should roast the 
wild turkeys, who boil the fish and make the sauces and 
side dishes? Every iron kettle, every long and short- 
legged pot and pan, every wooden bowl and leathern 
bottle, every pewter dish with hooks and trivets were in 
use, wooden cups or gourds to drink from, and knives. 
The only forks were long-handled ones for cooking. 

The Indians arrived and encamped around the street, 
thoughtfully bringing a large supply of venison to add 
to the bill of fare. The great tables were erected in 
front of the common house, the women and children 
cleared away, and looked on, now and then sampling the 
products of their cooking by taking a mouthful as they 
could, for they were too busy to eat. The long shadows 
of the third day saw the end of the event and the end 
of America's first Thanksgiving Day. 

Some weeks later we see Mistress Brewster in her 
kitchen distilling herbs for Dr. Fuller, when all are 
startled by the sound of a gun from the fort. Another 
shot. Every wise woman and child knows this is a sig- 
nal for assembly. A ship has entered Cape Cod harbor, 
seen by the Indians, who brought word at once to Ply- 
mouth. They had been seven months without sight or 
sound of the world beyond their little settlement. The 
sails of the FortunehdA brought them once again a touch 
of the outside world. The Fortune remained two weeks, 
and when she sailed Desire Minter chose to go back in 
her. This little ship did not receive benefit from her 
name, for fortune proved unkind. She was captured by a 
French man-of-war, and all taken prisoners for two weeks. 


If Desire Minter had only written of her experiences 
as a woman of the Mayflower, her experiences in leaving 
for an English home, with her war adventure as an extra 
detail, what material she had, and of what value for the 
world to read ! She would have been a rival historian 
of Bradford and Winslow. But of course such a thought 
never entered her mind. She was a woman, and a wo- 
man could not be independent in that day. About two 
hundred and fifty years passed before any other point of 
view was deemed possible. 

The kitchen at the Winslow's presents a lively scene 
this autumn morning. Mrs. Winslow and Mary Becket 
are in deep preparations for a feast — not an ordinary 
one. Two important causes may be found for the feast 
and good spirits. First, the master of the house had just 
returned from a successful trading trip up the coast, with 
a great quantity of fur to make who would a fur coat for 
the winter. As for Mary, why, George Soule had told 
her last evening that she was the only woman for him, 
and indeed it would not take her as long as it did Mary 
Chilton to make up her mind on a like matter. And 
the feast was to be a supper party. George Soule, who 
was a noted gunner, had brought home several plump 
birds and a pair of wild turkeys in compliment to Mary 
Chilton and John Winslow, as well as George Soule and 
Mary Becket. And if any of you think you have at- 
tended a feast I wish you could read what that one was 
like. Time forbids my giving it to you, as there are 
three solid pages of dishes innumerable, and — . 

After three years of struggle for life and a home in 
the wilderness Plymouth grew, and this autumn saw 
one hundred and eighty persons instead of a handful. 
The new plan of individual division of land, with its 
planting and care, proved its wisdom. Friendly contests 
for success began. Mary Chilton and Humility Cooper 
were each given an acre, and the attention these acres 
received was not less than any others. 

The crops ripening foretold an abundant harvest. 


The lightening of hearts and promising outlook caused 
the governor to proclaim a day of public thanksgiving. 
It was not after the manner of the one two years pre- 
vious, but more like a day of supplication. The dreaded 
visitor, famine, was gone, never to return to the fireside 
of Plymouth. And where the comforts of all the men 
had depended on the hands of difew women, now many 
workers made all tasks lighter. 

Spinning was a regular occupation. Besides domestic 
duties the women enthusiastically helped in planting 
and harvesting. Even while making their evening 
neighborly calls their fingers would ply the knitting- 
needles, for even in recreation the women could not 
afford to be idle. This was the gayest winter Plymouth 
had yet known. 

Now we will observe some passing events which were 
of special interest to the women. 

In the early summer, into John and Priscilla Alden's 
home came Elizabeth, called the first-born daughter of 
the Pilgrims. Then came a wedding of special interest. 
All Plymouth rejoiced when Patience Brewster married 
Thomas Prence. Destiny had woven for her a beautiful 
pattern, with childhood in Scrooby, girlhood in Leyden, 
and womanhood in Plymouth. A bright, particular star 
in the galaxy of the women of Plymouth colony. Her 
young husband reached the important place of governor 
in a few years. 

Gray days and golden days passed over Plymouth, 
each one finding the women busy with the household 
duties, which did not end with the sunset gun, as the 
men's labor might. Let us look for a moment at the 
list of occupations which kept them busy. Candle mak- 
ing; pickling eggs; preserve and cordial making; dis- 
tilling of herbs; ale or beer making; soap making; 
laundering and dyeing cloths and yarns; braiding mats 
of rushes; sweeping and sanding the floors; cleaning 
wooden and iron utensils; scouring and polishing pew- 
ter, brass and silver articles; pounding corn; butter and 


cheese making; cooking; weaving; spinning; sewing; 
drying wet shoes by filling them with hot oats; drying 
storm-soaked clothes by the blazing logs on the hearth; 
and teaching the boys and girls. Moments of recreation 
were rare. 

Many deaths have occurred, and the procession of 
brides still lengthens. The opening of another decade 
in the new world showed great contrasts to the Plymouth 
women who remembered the first years. Now they were 
able to see and hear of the experiences of others. If the 
arrival of the first cows into Plymouth was a never-to- 
be-forgotten joy to the women of the Mayflower, the 
entrance of horses into Plymouth life was elation. 
Remember Allerton married and went to Salem to live. 
At this time in Boston eggs were three cents a dozen, 
milk one cent a quart, butter six and cheese five cents 
a pound, and housekeepers not caring for the higher 
prices in Plymouth could send to Boston. 

One of the weddings of that year was Mary Allerton's. 
She was last but one of the Mayflower girls to marry. 
Damaris Hopkins' marriage completed the list. 

How I would like to take you to some of their parties 
and merry-making evenings ! I can only speak of one. 
The swift knitting-needles click in Desire's hands as she 
watches the progress of the sampler which is being 
worked by a lovely girl. Betty Alden also is one of the 
worker's admirers and friends. The sampler was made 
by Lora Standish, only and much-beloved daughter of 
the Pilgrim captain. That piece of handicraft is the 
only specimen of their work that we know of which may 
be looked at today. 

When Mary Chilton-Winslow moved to Boston it 
could not have seemed more strange to her than Ply- 
mouth had come to be to her. As the first death on the 
Mayflower was that of a woman, Dorothy Bradford, so 
the last survivor of the Mayflower company was a woman, 
Mary Allerton-Cushman, who saw all of the life, with its 
chances and changes, of which we read. 


Through the years we may well believe that the wo- 
men of the Mayflower^ who became the women of Ply- 
mouth, and their children, whether in newer homes or 
remaining in the old, looked back to the early days of 
their privation, when by their anxieties, their sorrows, 
their economies, their endeavors, their fearlessness and 
faith, the foundation of their colony was laid. 

Mary Chilton- Winslow lies beside her husband in 
King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston. Their names 
are marked upon a slab at the gate on Tremont street. 

Descendants of the women of Plymouth colony are 
now estimated to number more than a million. We 
rejoice that we know as much as we do of the women. 
Recently a plan was made that a chime of bells should 
be placed in the tower of the Pilgrim monument at 
Provincetown, and dedicated to the Women of the May- 
flower by their descendants. 

More recently still Henry H. Kitson has modeled a 
statue of a Pilgrim woman for erection at Plymouth in 
their memory. 

We may recall here the noble monument erected by 
the nation to the Pilgrims. In this design a woman is 
the exalted figure who holds the book and gazes over 
the sea. And of the four important but lesser figures, 
two are women. 

Governor Long has said of the heroic figure : " Her 
eyes look toward the sea. Forever she beholds upon its 
waves the incoming Mayflower. She sees the Pilgrims 
land ; they vanish, but she, the monument of their faith, 
remains and tells their story to the world." Their 
remembrance is like music. Inspire and love it. Per- 
petuate it, get precious memory out of it. 

A letter recently received by a Medford man, from a 
friend of his school days, suggests our subject. Its writer 
lived in West Medford several years in the early '70s, 


attending the grammar school there. Like others, he 
had a curiosity to " peek into the old rum distillery, 
sneak under the fence at the race track," and go to the 
library for books. The library was then in the town 
house. He wrote, "there were some fine places on the 
way, with statuary in their front yards." As none of 
this latter is now to be seen, a few observations may be 
of interest. A century ago people of artistic taste and 
of wealth thus embellished their grounds. 

Prominent in Medford were those of Thatcher Magoun, 
on High street. A substantial fence nearly five feet 
high adjoined the sidewalk. This, unlike the high 
board fence before the Gray mansion opposite, was of 
square palings, all of which passed through the continu- 
ous rails; but, at intervals, a paling was of iron, firmly 
set into the granite base beneath, thus supporting the 
whole. Thus enclosed, the entire grounds were still 
visible and attracted much attention. The winding 
walks were of red gravel in which no grass or weeds 
could grow, and bordered more or less with box, a close- 
growing evergreen plant. In spring the flower beds 
were ablaze with tulips and hyacinths and other flowers 
in their season, and the shrubbery of various kinds, taste- 
fully arranged and well cared for. Beside the walks 
were four and on the pedestals of the terrace were two 
statues of white marble, and at least two marble vases, 
which sometimes held flowering plants. The grounds 
sloped away to the river and extended westward to the 
Tufts estate, and in this portion were several pagodas — 
or "summer houses," as people used to style them. In 
Mr. Magoun's life time iihese grounds were neatly kept 
(the statuary had its anrjnal grooming), all in contrast to 
present condition. It was one of the "show-places" of 
Medford in those days. 

One day (since the twentieth century came in) the 
writer, going down Higli; street, noticed a hay wagon at 
the Magoun gateway. Men were bringing out the statu- 
ary; each piece stood m a big basket, and somewhat 


swathed, was roped in and lifted into the wagon, then 
roped to the top rail for safe riding. It was a grotesque 
sight (which some others also witnessed), and as the 
horse-drawn wagon moved down High street it did seem 
as if Ichabod was written on and about the place. 

We have recently tried to ascertain what the statues 
represented and have only succeeded in one instance, — 
Esculapius, the patron saint of the medical profession. 
We had a vague idea that four of the six were " the 
Seasons," as one we took to be Winter seemed to be 
shivering and gathering his robe closely about him. But 
what became of them? We are unable to answer with 
certainty. In a Boston daily of June 6, 1907, was a 
statement that their then owner " Offers Art Junk for 
Lynn's City Lawn," i.e., desired to sell them for deco- 
rative purpose. The statues were photographed in one 
group, the illustrative cut being the width of three news- 
paper columns. The article said, " much of the stuff 
had little value except as oddities." Indeed, we have 
heard similar deprecatory remarks made very recently, 
to which latter we cannot agree. They could not have 
been simply " plaster casts " and have remained exposed 
to the weather the year round for over sixty years ; nor is 
it at all likely that men of wealth and taste, as were 
these owners, would have surrounded their homes with 
any inferior specimens of art. 

There were also two statues on the elder Magoun's 
estate, which like those already named, are shown in the 
steel engravings in Brooks' History of Medford (1855). 
These, with similar marble vases, are mentioned in the 
letter of Mr. Magoun to the selectmen, as included in 
his gift, and are shown in the illustration in the Usher 
publication of 1886. But where are they today? 

On the front lawn of the old Brooks mansion on 
Grove street, also, were two smaller statues of white 
marble, on pedestals of darker stone ; whether others were 
beyond the mansion in the extensive grounds we cannot 
say, neither what these represented. They were at a 


distance from the street, and were not recognizable, even 
by an art critic, in the scattered broken limbs, disfigured 
heads and torsos we found while visiting [he partially 
demolished mansion in 1916. "Art junk" they surely 
\v r ere then, but not when selected by the discriminating 
owner a century before. But nothing is secure from 
modern vandalism, as witness the overturning of the 
statue on Cambridge common within a year, and of 
Sagamore John's monument nearer home. 

Not all Medford statuary was of marble, however. 
Colonel Royall indulged his aesthetic tastes away back 
in provincial days. A figure of the wing-footed messen- 
ger of the gods, carved from wood, and bearing the 
caduceus, surmounted the cupola of the octagonal pa- 
vilion on the elevation beyond the Royall mansion. 
Through all the vicissitudes of more than a century it 
remained in position, defying the elements. A legend 
of former days is embodied in the following, sent to our 
sanctum : — 

One of the most interesting objects on the Royall estate was the 
wooden statue of Mercury surmounting the summer house. He 
stood there poised, a graceful figure, ready for his flight as messen- 
ger of the gods. Each day, when he heard the one o'clock bell 
ring, he lifted his arm ; when the sound ceased he lowered the arm 
to his side. 

It is said that some Medford school children were late 
to school because of watching for the same. Add this 
to our list of " Medford myths," if you please. 

The remains of this " wooden god " are carefully pre- 
served today among the Royall relics. 

The wood-carvers* art was, in early days, much in 
vogue, and many a Medford ship had a carved figure- 
head of artistic design and workmanship. One of these, 
the Mystic Belle, after ploughing the seas for years, found 
a resting place here in Medford, and note of same was 
published at the time. Who knows where? Another, 
the figure of a bird, was for some years near the Fellsway. 

At one later time there seemed to be a mania for lawn 


decorations, some hideous, others ridiculous. On Mys- 
tic street (West Medford) Mr. Hastings had the figure 
of a couchant lion beside the entrance drive, and to 
make it more realistic a u den" of rocks was built over 
his leonine majesty. This was a protective measure, as 
we are told " it was a plaster cast." This lion at first 
had a terrifying aspect, which disappeared after a few 
scrubbings given it, and later the lion also departed. 

But ere this was the " clergyman's dog " his master 
refused to take out license for, a little way up Forest 
street. The story was, that soon after the first of May 
the zealous constable was informed thereof and hastened 
to find the owner. The clergyman, like many other rever- 
end gentlemen, enjoyed a joke (and was probably aware 
of the conspiracy existing), and firmly refused to save his 
favorite canine from threatened shooting, and on demand 
of the officer pointed out the victim's whereabouts. The 
big iron dog, recumbent beside the walk, had not molested 
the officer at his excited coming. Perhaps he laughed at 
his crestfallen departure. Anyway, it is said, the clergy- 
man did, also the ones that put up the game. There may 
have been others, but this was the only one w r e know of 
in Medford during the " era of the cast-iron dog." 

Some towns had a whole menagerie (could it have 
been collected) of lions, deer, dogs of various breed, rab- 
bits, etc., (probably indicating the tastes of the owners) 
specimens of which may still be found. 

Perhaps it was well that Medford never erected a 
soldiers' monument (other than that at Oak Grove), and 
so was spared the inferior specimens of statuary inflicted 
on some towns. Equally as well that the memorial we 
alluded to (Vol. XIX, p. 79) has not materialized. There 
is an " eternal fitness of things " in decorative art. A 
gargoyle requires distance to lend enchantment, but 
what shall we say of the caryatids in plug hats between 
which we go to the city offices ? They have been taken 
for effigies of public functionaries, with how much reason 
we are not saying. 


We have not now the space to mention the statuary 
casts in the various school buildings, and are reminded 
of the recent acquisition of " La Pense " at the Public 
Library. Here's hoping that this last may not make an 
unknown departure thence, as did those the school boy 
noted a half century ago. 


This is not a two-story picture, though our illustration 
resembles it somewhat. We first used it in the July 
issue of 1 90S, in connection with the story of Mystic Hall 
Seminary, read by the author, Mrs. Jennie (Pierce) Brig- 
ham at our meeting of March 7, 1908, a careful reading 
of which we commend to our present readers. 

The acquirement and preservation of each was due to 
a chance occurrence prior to above date. Both repre- 
sent the. seminary buildings from different points of view, 
and were found at widely separated places, thus: — 

First. — During a summer vacation Miss Flora Lyd- 
ston, bookkeeper for Joseph E. Ober (West Medford's 
veteran business man), was on her vacation in Ports- 
mouth, N. H., where she met a lady who told of her 
attendance at the seminary, and added, " I have a picture 
of it." As Miss L. understood it, it was of her drawing 
while at the school. On viewing it she at once noted 
the resemblance, and said, " Why, that is where I work ! 
My desk is at that window. My employer would like to 
see it, I know." She was allowed its use, and Mr. Ober 
had a local artist (Hans Schroff) copy it, and (framed) it 
hangs in his store. From it our cut was made. But ere 
that a young journalist secured it for a time, and a larger 
reproduction, with a breezy story of the famous school, 
appeared in the Medford Mercury, that to which Mrs. B. 
alluded in her opening sentence. 

Second. — While on a visit to Glens Falls, N. Y., we 
called upon Mr. George K. Hawley, who in 1864 lived 
in the Mystic Hall tenement, and boarded the bricklayers 


We have not now the space to mention the statuary 
casts in the various school buildings, and are reminded 
of the recent acquisition of " La Pense " at the Public 
Library. Here's hoping that this last may not make an 
unknown departure thence, as did those the school boy 
noted a half century ago. 


This is not a two-story picture, though our illustration 
resembles it somewhat. We first used it in the July 
issue of 1908, in connection with the story of Mystic Hall 
Seminary, read by the author, Mrs. Jennie (Pierce) Brig- 
ham at our meeting of March 7, 1908, a careful reading 
of which we commend to our present readers. 

The acquirement and preservation of each was due to 
a chance occurrence prior to above date. Both repre- 
sent the seminary buildings from different points of view, 
and were found at widely separated places, thus: — 

First. — During a summer vacation Miss Flora Lyd- 
ston, bookkeeper for Joseph E. Ober (West Medford's 
veteran business man), was on her vacation in Ports- 
mouth, N. H., where she met a lady who told of her 
attendance at the seminary, and added, " I have a picture 
of it." As Miss L. understood it, it was of her drawing 
while at the school. On viewing it she at once noted 
the resemblance, and said, " Why, that is where I work ! 
My desk is at that window. My employer would like to 
see it, I know." She was allowed its use, and Mr. Ober 
had a local artist (Hans Schroff) copy it, and (framed) it 
hangs in his store. From it our cut was made. But ere 
that a young journalist secured it for a time, and a larger 
reproduction, with a breezy story of the famous school, 
appeared in the Medford Mercury, that to which Mrs. B. 
alluded in her opening sentence. 

Second. — While on a visit to Glens Falls, N. Y., we 
called upon Mr. George K. Hawley, who in 1864 lived 
in the Mystic Hall tenement, and boarded the bricklayers 


that built Medford's disused subway * (See Vol. XX, p. i.) 
During the interview he produced the first year book of 
the seminary as printed, containing the view entitled 
School for Young Ladies, which we had not before seen, 
and kindly allowed us its use. 

Thus, from unexpected sources, these " views of Med- 
ford " have come. We have been asked by some if we 
consider them good. This leads us to the following 
comment, we trust not over-critical, and not unfriendly: 

First, remembering that in the early fifties few views 
were obtained other than by " sketching from nature," 
we can overlook the faults, respecting the motive prompt- 
ing the effort. Concerning the " delineator" of the 
second-named we have no clue whatever. The point of 
view must have been from across High street and look- 
ing south. As the canal (discontinued in 1852) still had 
water enough to skate upon (see Vol. XI, No. 3) and the 
bridge on High street still remained, the artist (perhaps 
one of the girls) bent it around some to get it into the 
drawing (at the right), but showed the great willow tree 
on the farther bank. " Mystic Hall " is in the right 
position (at the left-hand) but the big poplar was across 
Harvard avenue. We know, as we cut it down before 
building the Odd Fellows hall. The legend on that 
building was, in gilded iron letters, Mystic Hall Semi- 
nary, the final word removed in 1S70. The S is now in 
the Historical rooms and the M in our editorial sanctum. 
The chimney seen in view was a wooden one, "only for 
looks," " false chimney," and common in those days. The 
curve in the front wall is correct, but the house with the 
tower should have been farther west (to right). It really 
was at present 516 High street. The lawn, St. Raphael's 
church and rectory, are now between its site and Mystic 
Hall. The two horsewomen are headed toward the big 
barn, where was the gymnasium and bowling alley, but 
which is not shown. ' To have done so would have re- 
quired about four times the width. But the costumes, 

* We have heard he was time-keeper on that work. 


the ornamental grounds and gateway also, are sugges- 
tive of the time. The granite posts are still there, and 
the socket holes of the iron hinges, also the granite walls. 
This picture the next year yielded place to the other, 
which shows the three by looking west. While in this 
the shape of the " Mystic Mansion " and Mystic Hall are 
correctly given, the alignment is poor. It was with the 
"delineator" a case of miiltum in parvo. The farthest 
house was really as far from High street as is the present 
516. The fence around Mystic Hall was there in 1870, 
but in line with the oval was a willow four feet in diame- 
ter, which could not have grown in the fifteen years 
since 1855. Again, we found in 1870 an unsightly out- 
building, screened somewhat (where the oval is shown), 
on the walls of which various classic quotations were 
written. We will quote one : — 

Honest man, in the ear of reason, is a grander title than peer of 
the realm or prince of the blood. 

There was also a greenhouse beyond the "mansion" 
which, with the former-named, was removed in 1870. 
But that the dormers are too high in the roof and the 
basement windows also too far from the ground, the 
artist did well with this house and caught the salient 
feature of the pilasters of Mystic Hall. The big syca- 
more behind the mansion is true to form, but we can 
hardly forgive the omission of the railroad, which lies 
between them. In this, also, the physical department 
is in evidence in Canal street — the young ladies with 
their instructor at the rear, but they don't all ride that 
way now. 

One thing the artist did not show — it was not very 
prominent — the stone set in the brick wall under the 
second story middle window. In it is cut 18 12, the date 
of the building's erection by the town as its almshouse. 

Old pictures, even if crude, are worth saving. 

42 [June, 

By Rev. Anson Titus. 

[Read at a meeting of the Medford Historical Society. May 21. 1923.] 

In 1 718 James Franklin sailed for London and se- 
cured type and printing press and immediately began the 
printing of pamphlets and books; and soon became the 
printer of the Boston Gazette, the official paper of the 
province. In 1721 Franklin established the New Eng- 
land CouranL The Courant began in the midst of one 
of the greatest small pox epidemics Boston ever had. 
Doctors Increase and Cotton Mather were ardent advo- 
cates of inoculation, and strongly supported by Dr. 
Zabdiel Boylston. Franklin with great freedom of ex- 
pression wrote of affairs which brought the wrath of the 
provincial officials upon him. Franklin printed an item 
regarding pirate vessels in the vicinity of Block Island, 
and that Captain Pete Papillion had raised a company 
and sailed against them. It was an impolitic item to 
print, but was a scoop on the part of an inexperienced 
printer. The following day he was brought before the 
governor on the Speakers' warrant, and spent a month 
in jail. His younger brother, Ben Franklin, only seven- 
teen years old, became editor for a time, and for legal 
reasons his name continued as publisher for three or 
four years. The printshop of James Franklin was on 
the site of the Old Colony Trust Company. During 
these years Franklin printed an "Arithmetic "; a book on 
" Music " by Thomas Walter, stated to be the first music 
printed in bars; also printed astronomical books for 
Professors Greenwood and Robie of Harvard College, 
and many sermons by the Doctors Mather. Franklin 
printed books of superior grade, which did not meet with 
a Sale they deserved. Bankruptcy followed, and in 1727 
James Franklin removed to Newport, R. I., where he 
entered at once upon a more prosperous career. He 
obtained the printing of the plantation, and several 
volumes of Bishop Berkley, an annual Almanac, and 
conducted a short-lived newspaper. James Franklin 


died February 4, 1738, on his thirty-eighth birthday, 
leaving widow, a son, James, and at least three daugh- 
ters. Ann Franklin, during her widowhood of twenty- 
nine years, conducted the official printing of Rhode 
Island, established the Newport Mercury, out-lived all 
her children, and died April 19, 1763. 

While James Franklin was in Boston, 1722, he estab- 
lished a library of nigh one hundred volumes, which 
people were free to visit and read. The library con- 
tained a set of " The Spectator," by Addison, recently 
published, eminent histories, learned works of recent 
scholarship, and a copy of Shakespeare's works, said to 
be the first known copy in New England. This library 
was not a public or circulating library, was free to any 
one who desired to come to the print shop to read. This 
print shop became a gathering place for the literates of 
Boston of two hundred years ago, and was of the type 
presented by our publishers of today, who afford a quiet 
corner where readers can come and browse among their 
newest publications. 

The spiritual heir of James Franklin was Samuel 
Hall, who, Isaiah Thomas says, married a daughter of 
the Franklin home. Samuel Hall entered at once upon 
the affairs of the printshop in Newport, and his obituary 
of Ann Franklin would show her to be among the 
queens of American womanhood. Samuel Hall after- 
wards established the Essex Gazette, Salem, and at the 
outbreak of the Revolutionary War printed newspapers 
and official proclamations for the army and the province. 
He established a bookstore, printshop and book bindery 
in Boston. He became the printer of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, and was regarded as one of the most 
correct compositors and proof-readers in Boston. He 
died in 1807, leaving a second wife, and " next of kin," 
Elizabeth, wife of William Barnes of Brookfield, who 
was without doubt the granddaughter of James and 
Ann Franklin. Samuel Hall was born in Medford, 
1740; he and a brother, Jonathan, were, early in child- 

44 COMMENT AND CONTRAST. [June, 1923.] 

hood, orphans. The brother Jonathan died in young 
manhood. They were brought up among their mother's 
relatives, the Fowle family, who were printers. 

James Franklin, Boston born and bred, whose wife, 
Ann Smith, was also Boston born and bred, had real 
success in Boston ; but Boston failed to recognize it ; trans- 
planted to Newport, ever famed for its generous spirit, he 
not only gained success, but held it to the last, giving 
credit not only to the Franklin name, but to a generous 
and liberty-loving plantation. 


A high school graduate of '73 tells in a recent Mercury 
of his classmates, and gives a " glimpse " of fifty years 
ago. Eight of the eighteen still live, six in Medford. 
Mr. Buss' story suggests our headline, as he tells of that 
school in part of present Centre schoolhouse, a teaching 
staff of three, with occasional music teacher. 

While Medford's population has increased seven times, 
the high school teachers are now twenty times and its 
graduates over thirteen times as many. 

Then the two steam railroads gave good service to 
Boston, but there was no public conveyance within and 
to adjacent towns. 

South Medford was mainly brickyards and trotting 
park, East Medford sparsely settled, and Wellington 
only a farm. A swamp lay beyond Dudley street; the 
Fellsway unthought of. 

No telephone then, no electric light or power, no 
library building, no parkways or Fells reservation. 

But Medford had then two military companies, two 
brass bands, a big lumber yard, the old tide-mill, famous 
ruin distillery, town hall, — also a low tax rate. 

Automobiles, motor boats, movies and radio, heavy 
taxes — costly luxuries — are of today. 

Let our Medford readers finish for themselves our 
contrasts and comments, here begun. 





.-;r>. .cvi-j^i 




The Medford Historical Register. 

Vol. XXVI. SEPTEMBER, 1923. No. 3. 


IN Vol. XVIII, No. i, Medford Historical Register, 
was " High Street in 1870." That it awakened interest 
is shown by the following letter, which was directly acted 
upon. (See Mr. Hooper's article on " Pine and Pasture 
Hills," and " Introductory Note " in the Register's next 

New Bedford, March 13, 1915. 
Mr. Editor : — 

Dear Sir: — I have at different times been interested to know 
the original topography of the tract between the Library lot and 
the square, and made unfinished notes, but I never perfected any- 
thing. Now comes your very useful record of High street in 1S70, 
and it reawakens my interest. 

I have no facilities for the inquiry — don't know the place, names, 
now — and it is too late, so I am going to drop it and dump all the 
papers upon you to throw away or use as you like. This is not a 
contribution article for the columns of the Register, but sent in 
the hope of stirring up the curiosity of Mr. Hooper, yourself, or 
some other intelligent person to investigate, collect facts, and write 
up the subject. You two seem to know the most about High street. 
You once made a winter ramble along the smelt brook. You 
might make a back-yard ramble behind the High street houses and 
possibly discover or infer something. 

Sincerely yours, 

Thos. M. Stetson. 

Not all Mr. Stetson's queries were answered, and we 
are presenting them anew, with his " notes " in full, hoping 
they may awaken new interest along historic lines. He 
was the son of Rev. Caleb Stetson, the able minister of 


the First Parish (1S27 to 184S). Under the caption 
"A Medford Schoolboy's Reminiscences," in Vol. XVII, 
No. 4, is a most interesting contribution to our columns 
to which we call especial attention. His parents lived 
in Medford, first in the Rev. Charles Brooks house, but 
later on High street where is now St. Joseph's rectory. 
In reading his " Reminiscences " and these following 
" notes " it will be seen that he was " at home " on old 
High street, and his observations and descriptions the 
very best. It was to our regret that his likeness did not 
appear among the " Octogenarians " with the old " High- 
school house " at that time, as we had intended. 

It is now seven years since he passed away from his 
home in New Bedford, Mass., where he took up the prac- 
tice of law in 1854. Though he had not been in Med- 
ford for many years, he retained pleasant memories of 
his boyhood home, and was a subscriber to the Register. 

Turn to Vol. XIII, p. 93, and note his story of the 
"sham fight" and later artillery practice (where is now 
the Fellsway) which explained the finding of cannon 
balls on the hillslope above. 

On p. 45, Vol XIX, is his likeness, which appeared 
in the New Bedford paper at his passing away at the 
age of nearly eighty-six years. 

We put off our intended visit to him too long. It 
would have been worth while to have heard from his 
own lips about the High street and the old Medford of 
1 840s. 

The following is copy of the papers sent us: — 


L A contour sketch of the Tract bounded as below, as nature 
left it, say, in 1630 to 1635.* 

♦Editor's Note. — By "line of Library lot" means the easterly 
boundary of the old Magoun estate, conveyed to the town in 1875 by 
Thatcher Magoun. The Children's Library was a later acquirement. The 
"Crest," evidently the east to west line of the brow of then Pasture hill. 
By "Governor's lane," the narrow opening between the present Savings 
Bank and Trust Company buildings, not present Governors avenue. 


East, by line of Governor's lane. 
South, by river. 
West, by line of Library lot. 
North, by the Crest. 

II. A history of the Medford industry in dark granite and red 

Probably Queries I and II will correlate. 

III. The story of the long-abandoned quarry near the north 
end of old Governor's lane and not far west of Forest street. 

This was doubtless a Medford industry, though perhaps near or 
over the Stoneham line. 


Mr. Hooper opened this subject 4 Register, p. 1. Appreci- 
ating the difference in value between *' a bald fact" and a fact de- 
veloped by a trained imagination, he located his mind's eye on the 
crest behind the site of the unborn High School No. 2 and gazed 
about the Meadford. This was about 1630, etc. There was no 
High street and no bridge ; no houses nearer than the Cradock 
buildings in the town pump region. They had to be there for 
central administration of the governor's property, and on the nearest 
site to the only ford which offered sufficient level space. There 
was no retaining wall nor filling at the river; all was normal, 
unchanged by man. The gazer saw west-bound travelers passing 
along the narrow path on the verge just above high-water mark 
and then climbing the steep in front of the library lot, and east 
bound ones going along the gravel beach to the Cradock buildings. 
This was a " varge-way," just as New England country folks call 
it now. 

This glimpse into initial Medford reveals a shelf only between 
the great south bastion of Pasture hill and the river. 

Query: How wide was that shelf, and what was the color of 
that gravel? How far was the crest from the river? How many 
feet higher than the present surface of High street was the then 
surface of the ground? 

Mr. Hooper points out (p. 2) that the tide used to flow into 
Medford square, and that the bridge used to be twice its present 
length. So extensive filling was requisite, and from whence? 
Obviously from Pasture hill alone. Probably not by long